Bamako, Mali – AWEPA undertook a consultation mission to Bamako, Mali on the subject of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) on 18 March 2015. The AWEPA delegation met with key individuals, groups and organisations working towards the abandonment of FGM/C in Mali.
The overarching objective of the mission was to obtain a nuanced understanding of the realities of FGM/C in Mali today and gain insight into whether and how AWEPA could re-launch its programme on FGM/C in Mali, which was put on hold in 2012 due to generally high levels of insecurity in the country.
The mission sought to learn more about the willingness of parliamentarians to take action on the issue of FGM/C and the current climate within the parliament and country with regard to the overall political and security situation. Furthermore, the delegation assessed ongoing projects and initiatives on FGM/C, in absence of legislation banning the practice.
More specifically, the consultation mission aimed:
· To identify champions and focal persons within the Malian Parliament with whom AWEPA could interact;
· To inform Malian MPs of AWEPA’s FGM/C programme;
· To determine the specific support AWEPA can provide to enhance the capacity of the Malian parliament to protect girls and women from FGM/C.
As part of the mission, AWEPA met with nine members of the Réseau des parlementaires maliens pour la lutte contre les violences faites aux femmes et aux filles, including its Chair. In addition, meetings were held with a representative of the local United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) office and other key individuals and organisations working on FGM/C in Mali. Through these meetings, the delegation was informed about the context surrounding FGM/C in Mali – including the history of the battle against FGM, the work currently being carried out by individuals and organisations, current trends and potentially powerful influences.
The consultation mission allowed AWEPA to identify its potential role and outline a rudimentary strategy and programme of activities regarding the abandonment of FGM/C in Mali, with a special focus on community level sensitisation.