Specialist and emergency services, helplines and NGO support

2006-09Ministry of Health commissions six-city pilot project, ‘Preventing FGM’, involving cooperation of municipal health services (GGD), Pharos and FSAN to develop coherent prevention activities through a chain approach. Prevention activities aimed to
 • establish behavioural change through awareness-raising among high-risk groups
 • increase sense of urgency regarding FGM among all partners in the chain
2011-15The Nazorg (Aftercare) project, offering consultation hours for survivors of FGM, is expanded to include Tilburg/Den Bosch, Eindhoven, Groningen, Rotterdam and Nijmegen, followed by the Apeldoorn region, after successful pilot project in The Hague. The project aims to ensure women who have undergone FGM access required physical and psychological services. Project partners are municipal public health services (GGD), Pharos (responsible for project monitoring) and FSAN (responsible for nationwide coordination of project activities).

Key Dutch figures in FGM

The term ‘key figures’ refers to women and men from FGM-practising countries of origin,who are able to contribute to a vibrant and effective campaign in the battle against FGM. Key figures are trained to work as facilitators, with the goal of bringing an end to FGM in their communities.

Profile and qualities of a key figure

  • Educated to at least secondary-school level
  • Passion for and eagerness to contribute to FGM campaign
  • Non-judgemental attitude
  • Accepted and respected by her/his community
  • Ability to read and write Dutch (fairly well)
  • Ability to speak community language
  • Roots in FGM-practising country
  • Aged 18-60
  • Legally resident in the Netherlands
  • Good communication skills (sensitive and persuasive)
  • Good interpersonal skills (including listening skills and empathy)
  • Motivated and available (including on weekends)

Role of a key figure

  • Participate in training sessions and up-grading courses
  • Organise and present community awareness-raising campaigns
  • Evaluate training/information sessions
  • Motivate community attitudinal and behavioural change
  • Provide support to other key figures
  • Report according to template provided
  • Speak at training sessions or public conferences, as required
  • Work as interpreter, when needed

Role of key figures in Aftercare (consultation hours) project

  • Participate in training sessions
  • Clarify project activities through group meetings and home visits
  • Referral of patients to public health services consultation hours
  • Inspire trust and respect confidentiality
  • Maintain written record of any indication or complaint by female community member regarding unsatisfactory treatment by a professional, such as a doctor
  • At the request of a female community member, act as an interpreter for or accompany her to consultation hours with professionals, or to administrative/judicial proceedings

Key figures are of Eritrean, Ethiopian, Egyptian, Somali, Sudanese, Nigerian, Sierra Leonean, Guinean, Togolese, Ghanaian, Burkinabe and Malian descent, and speak, in addition to Dutch, Swahili, Tigrinya, Amharic, Arabic, Somali, English and French.

Additional country-specific resources

Further information on FGM in the Netherlands is available in English at http://www.pharos.nl/information-in-english/female-genital-mutilation, including links to manuals and guidelines. For more about FSAN, including links to materials, visit http://www.fsan.nl/?language=UK.