Best Practice in Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) Education and Prevention Programs
What is the NETFA Best Practice Guide?
The National Education Toolkit for FGM/C Awareness (NETFA) Best Practice Guide outlines a set of accepted guiding principles to inform health promotion programs working with communities around the issue of FGM/C in Australia.
The Guide has been developed in consultation with programs across Australia, and is based on a review of best practice recommendations from successful national and international initiatives and organisations.
The NETFA National Standards Framework is also a quick reference tool that can be used in
conjunction with the Best Practice Guide to assist in the development of new resources for
community education or community-based engagement. This Framework can be used by individuals and
organisations that is involved in using and/or producing resources for FGM/C affected communities
living in Australia.
The Literature Review documents and inform the Best Practice Guide to identify best practice
models and evidence-based approaches in relation to community awareness and education within a migrant and refugee context.
Download a copy below or read on to find out more
Complete NETFA Best Practice Guide.pdf
Printer Friendly NETFA Best Practice Guide.pdf
NETFA Literature Review.pdf
NETFA National Standards Framework.pdf
What approach is used in the NETFA Best Practice Guide?
This Best Practice Guide approaches the issue of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) within a human rights-based framework that respects the voices, knowledge, culture and life experiences of girls and women.
It is an approach that views FGM/C as a violation of human rights, as well as a practice which is harmful to the health of girls and women.
Empowering communities, especially women, to take the lead in activities supporting the abandonment of FGM/C without stigmatising girls, women or their community is of central importance to this approach.
The NETFA Best Practice Guide has also been developed to layout an approach Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Australia. In other words, it recognises that the premigration, migration and settlement experiences of individuals and communities often negatively affects their access to and awareness of health services, health information and health prevention programs.
For this reason, the guide is particularly relevant for programs working with immigrant and refugee populations.
Who is the Best Practice Guide for?
The Guide is intended for individuals and organisations working with diaspora communities in Australia around the issue of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).
It could also be useful for health professionals, practitioners and community workers who work with communities in which the practice has been traditionally performed.
What are the Best Practice Principles?
Community ownership of and consensus-building about the need to abandon Female Genital Mutilation is key to change. Programs should engage women, girls, men and boys of all ages and stages in life and promote community dialogue.
- COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP
Community leadership is central to ensuring programs are effective. Programs should involve the community in all stages of program development, decision-making and implementation.
- WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT
FGM / C reflects a larger issue of gender inequality that can be addressed by focusing on women’s and girls’ empowerment. Programs should prioritise the self-empowerment of girls and women by investing in awareness, capacity building and leadership skills that can advance their capacity for self-determination and independence.
- HOLISTIC AND INTEGRATED EDUCATION
Community members are more likely to respond to discussion of the issue when it is integrated within a wider context of health, human rights or health literacy. Effective programs address FGM/C as part of a holistic approach to increasing girls and women’s health and wellbeing.
- PROFESSIONAL PEER EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Providing information and education about FGM/C in a way that is not condescending and respects the experiences and culture of the community reaches people more effectively and makes them more open to change. Peer education ensures better cultural and generational understanding.
- CULTURAL DIGNITY
Respecting someone’s cultural dignity does not mean accepting their cultural practices without question. Change is part of culture, but change can be advocated for in a positive way, without stigmatising communities.
- BUILDING THE CAPACITY OF RELEVANT PROFESSIONALS
In countries of migration the consequences of the practice for girls and women and the cultural beliefs that surround it may be poorly recognised or identified by health and other relevant professionals. Programs should build relevant professionals’ capacity to effectively address or refer the issue and increase cultural understanding.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting prevention crosses many different sectors. A co-ordinated approach involving collaboration, communication and information sharing across sectors is essential to providing comprehensive support for girls and women who may be affected by FGM/C.
- RESEARCH AND EVALUATION
In order to be effective, programs must be guided and informed by accurate evidence and must be able to reliably assess the success of strategies and activities undertaken. Programs should develop comprehensive evaluation frameworks and wherever possible consult current literature and research in the area.