• Shaping the debate on FGM/C

“Eradicate female genital mutilation/cutting”

The Catalan media VilaWeb delves into the subject of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and its eradication, following the work of the Wassu Foundation in Africa and Spain. Xavier Montanyà, author of the article, opens it with the following information: "The FGM/C threatens three million girls every year in the world." The figure challenges the entire international community, since girls at risk are not only found in the African and Asian countries where the practice is traditionally carried out, but migrations have also moved the FGM/C to Europe.

With interviews to Dr. Adriana Kaplan, director of the Wassu Foundation, and Rocío Ortiz, project technician of the organization in The Gambia, the article gives an account of the deep research work carried out to understand the FGM/C in a holistic way and how this knowledge has promoted a preventive and respectful of traditions methodology, which is already applied in The Gambia, Kenya and Tanzania.

Finally, there is also room for criticism at the local level: how Catalonia faces the issue of the FGM/C and what is needed for a greater public commitment to the girls and young people affected, or at risk of being subjected to this practice.

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  • Eradicate female genital mutilation/cutting

“The law is not enough to eradicate female genital mutilation”

Within the framework of the International Seminar organised by Wassu Foundation and the Observatory for Gender Equality of the Rey Juan Carlos University, Adriana Kaplan (director of the Wassu Foundation) and Kemo Fatty (trainer at the NGO Wassu Gambia Kafo) are interviewed. They speak for el País about The Gambian framework, the importance to do preventive work and to promote the initiation without mutilation. They also explain the methodology proposed by Wassu and how, since last year, Marycelina Msuya has been implementing it in the Christian Medical College of the Kilimanjaro University (Tanzania). The news also frames the situation of the European Union, where Johnsdotter points out the need to involve the communities in the prevention of FGM to promote the abandonment of the practice.

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  • The law is not enough to eradicate female genital mutilation

Adriana Kaplan interviewed in Las Palmas Newspaper “la Provincia”

Las Palmas Newspaper “la Provincia” interviewed Adriana Kaplan to speak about Female Genital Mutilation and the work undertaken in The Gambia and in Spain. Dr. Kaplan exposes the methodology developed by Wassu Foundation and the new law banning the practice in The Gambia. Regarding the role that the international community has on the prevention of harmful practices like FGM, she highlights that “education is the path”. Finally, she emphasises that public policies should assume a political commitment and assign the needed resources to train primary care professionals on FGM. She points out that it is the only way to ensure a preventive and continuous work with girls, women and families.

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  • Adriana Kaplan interviewed in Las Palmas Newspaper “la Provincia”

Wassu Gambia Kafo launches new project by Euroepan Union

  • Wassu Gambia Kafo launches new project by Euroepan Union

TV3 presents Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting due to the International Day against the practice

Due to the new Law against FGM/C in The Gambia and the International Day against the practice, TV3 acknowledges the work done by Wassu-UAB Foundation in The Gambia. Adriana Kaplan notes that “the training is the way” in order to avoid that FGM/C is practiced to girls during the trips to their country of origin. Kaplan highlights the need to scale up prevention, sensitization and training in all the fields and to reduce the police intervention in these cases.

Video (20:33 – 23:07)

  • TV3 presents Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting due to the International Day against the practice

Adriana Kaplan interviewee in “Un Món Possible” of RTVE

Adriana Kaplan explains in Radio Televisión Española the types, location and cultural reasons of practicing Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting , the importance of circularity of migration processes and presents the methodology and objectives of Wassu-UAB Foundation in Spain and NGO Wassu Gambia Kafo in The Gambia.

She expresses the need to work FGM/C in a preventive way to empower Health Professionals with knowledge that allow them to recognize the consequences of the practice and avoid complications in health and the victimization of women and girls. It is highlighted her opinion about the inclusion as a service of clitoris reconstruction in the Catalan Public Health System and she anticipates the possible impact that the new Law against FGM/C approved last 29th December of 2015 could have in The Gambia.

Audio (02:40-29:30)

  • Adriana Kaplan interviewee in “Un Món Possible” of RTVE

BTV: Prevention, the key to avoid new cases of ablation

Due to the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, BTV informs about the approach of this practice in Catalonia. Adriana Kaplan insists on the effects that the new Gambian legislation against FGM/C could have as a legal framework to work on. This Law will help to stop the medicalization of the practice but it does not guarantee the eradication of it.

Aina Mangas explains that in Catalonia there are action protocols from different fields to prevent FGM/C. She also points that “these protocols are not enough for Health Professionals who assist women and girls to understand what the practice consist on, to detect the health consequences and to work in prevention with families”.

Video (10:29 - 13:00)

  • BTV: Prevention, the key to avoid new cases of ablation

El País: The Gambia passes its first Law against FGM/C

El País informs about the new Law against Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in The Gambia. The article focuses on the fieldwork done by Wassu-UAB Foundation since 2008 and how it has brought scientific evidence on the negative health consequences of FGM/C. These clinical studies have planted the seeds of this process that has resulted in the emergence of the new Law.

Adriana Kaplan – director of Wassu-UAB Foundation- explains the main purposes of the work done and the methodology developed. She also presents the Research results and the positive changes perceived between 2009 and 2014 in the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices that Health Professionals have about FGM/C. At the same time, Kaplan advices the growth of Medicalization of the practice and point out the importance of sensitization as well as the urge to recognize FGM/C as a Public Health problem in The Gambia.

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  • El País: The Gambia passes its first Law against FGM/C

Gambia legislates against FGM/C

Gambia Parliament has passed a bill on 29th December 2015 which bans FGM/C in the country after the public statement on the abolition of the practice in Gambia made last November by the President. The new bill could sanction the person who engages the FGM/C with three years in prison or with a fine of 50.000 dalasis (1.250 $) and the life imprisonment if the act results in death.

The clinic studies undertaken in The Gambia and the systematic, rigorous and constant work of applied research to Knowledge Transfer by Wassu-UAB Foundation have brought scientific evidence to prove the nature of FGM/C as a harmful practice for women and girls’ health. This contribution has favored the emergence of this bill on a very delicate issue in Gambia.

“Gambia parliament passes bill which bans female genital mutilation”
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  • Gambia legislates against FGM/C

Clitoral reconstruction will be included as a public health service in Catalonia

The Basque Institute of Women –Emakunde trains health agents on the prevention of FGM/C, in partnership with Wassu-UAB Foundation

In February 2015, The Basque Institute of Women – Emakunde launches the training programme of «key actors» on the prevention of FGM/C in Euskadi, where 800 girls under 14 are at risk of suffering this Human Rights violation. From the health, education and social field, these actors have been selected by the Basque Government and its provincial Councils within the municipalities with greater presence of population from countries where FGM/C is practiced in origin.

The training of key actors is conducted by Wassu-UAB Foundation, tackling the socio-cultural aspects of the practice, its consequences on health, the approach from the social services, and the implementation of protocols. The final goal is to develop a global program for the prevention of FGM/C in Euskadi in partnership with Wassu Foundation.

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Adriana Kaplan, executive director of Wassu-UAB Foundation, on the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM/C:
«I am worried about perversity of the policies against FGM/C»

On February 6 2015, the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM/C, Adriana Kaplan speaks with the Spanish newspaper El País. The executive director and her research team r at Wassu-UAB Foundation succeeded in lifting the veto over FGM/C in The Gambia. Backed by twenty-seven years of experience and through the network of the Transnational Observatory of Applied Research for the Prevention of FGM/C, the scientific organization works in two directions, between Spain and The Gambia, for the prevention of the practice.

With «knowledge and respect»” as core values, Kaplan has deepen the understanding of this ancient tradition and has trained several generations of Gambian health professionals on the prevention of the practice and the management and care of women already suffering FGM/C consequences throughout their lifetime.

Con el «conocimiento y el respeto» por bandera, Kaplan ha conseguido penetrar en las entrañas de esta tradición milenaria y formar a varias generaciones de profesionales de la salud de Gambia para atajar estas prácticas y tratar las consecuencias que sufren, de por vida, las mujeres mutiladas.

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WGK trainings of Health Professionals in partnership with the Reproductive and Child Health Unit,
under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) of The Gambia

In partnership with the Reproductive and Child Health Unit (RCH), dependent of the MoHSW of The Gambia, WGK conducted several trainings in five different regions of the country during two weeks in January 2015. These trainings were implemented under the frame of the Gambia National Training Programme for Health Professionals on FGM/C.

The national newspaper The Observer reports and remarks the importance of the training development.

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Approval of the Common Protocol for a Healthcare Response to FGM/C.
Intervention of Aina Mangas, researcher at Wassu-UAB Foundation.

The Spanish Ministry of Health, together with the autonomous communities, has approved the Common Protocol for a Healthcare Response to FGM/C. In her intervention, the Wassu-UAB Foundation researcher Aina Mangas emphasizes the importance of training health professionals on FGM/C preventive strategies.

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Video - Telediario TVE 1, Spanish version (a partir del min. 35:15) -

Video - Telediario TVE 1, Catalan version (a partir del min. 16) -

Dr. Adriana Kaplan speaks about the situation of Female Genital Mutilation in Catalonia
and the importance of a preventive intervention to avoid the practice

Dr. Adriana Kaplan enhances the importance of a preventive approach to tackle FGM/C by primary care professionals in the program Crónica negra of RAC 1 Radio. Girls are two-times victims: on behalf of tradition, they undergo FGM/C and, according to the law, they are sheltered in child welfare centers and separated from their parents, who can face up to 12 years of imprisonment.

Listen to Interview

Dr. Adriana Kaplan enhances the importance of a preventive and respectful approach to tackle
Female Genital Mutilation by trained primary care professionals in Catalonia

Dr. Adriana Kaplan enhances the importance of a preventive and respectful approach to tackle FGM/C by primary care professionals in Catalonia. The evidence shows that, when health professionals are properly trained and a preventive approach is applied, girls remain intact after having travelled to their families’ home countries. In some cities of Catalonia, a decrease in the number of girls aged from 0 to 14 years at risk of undergoing FGM has been reported. This reduction can be related to the interventions of the Catalan police forces, which might result in families sending their daughters back to their home countries.


Emakunde working to prevent Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Euskadi

The Women’s Basque Institute, Emakunde, wants to develop a programme for the prevention of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Euskadi. Adriana Kaplan, anthropologist and Director of Foundation Wassu-UAB, was received by the President of the Basque Government, Iñigo Urkullu, together with the Director of Emakunde, Izaskun Landaida, and the Health, Education and Social Action Counsellors.

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Bilbao City Council has developed a programme aimed at eradicating female genital mutilation

Bilbao City Council and Wassu-UAB Foundation have signed an agreement to prevent Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in The Gambia, Kenya and Tanzania, three of the African countries where the practice still continues. At the same time, Bilbao, place of residence of around 800 women and girls who migrated from one of the 28 countries where FGM/C persists, will implement a programme for the care and prevention of FGM/C.

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IU urges Granada City Council to take action in order to prevent 52 girls from undergoing FGM/C

According to a report from Wassu Foundation, 52 girls between 0 and 14 years old living in the city of Granada are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation/cutting. IU considers that primary health care, education and social services must target the population at risk living in Granada so as to avoid these cases.

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Families of girls who have already undergone genital mutilation should not be criminalized

Wassu-UAB Foundation considers that the new organic law of the Judiciary Act, drafted by the Government, should be aimed at the prevention of genital mutilation on girls living in Spain that are at risk of suffering the practice when travelling to their countries of origin.

In a press release, Wassu-UAB Foundation has requested the new law not to punish the families of those girls who have already been submitted to the practice in Africa.

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Detaining female genital mutilation/cutting in Euskadi

The Basque Country seeks to become the first European region developing a holistic programme for the prevention of female genital mutilation/cutting among girls from African origin. The Women’s Basque Institute, Emakunde, is willing to work for the prevention of female genital mutilation/cutting through a “respectful approach”, based on a diagnosis of the situation and the training of professionals, with the support of Wassu-UAB Foundation.

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"We have to build relationships in base of respect; that is the only way to end Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting"

When the Director of Wassu-UAB Foundation arrived to The Gambia twenty years ago, she did not found what she expected: against all the beliefs, the practice of cutting the clitoris was not about to disappear. Since then, she works to change this reality. “Although it looks contradictory, mothers who cling to that ritual want the best for their daughters”.

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"Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting has to do with the access to women’s secret society"

In Spain, the increasing population coming from countries where female genital mutilation/cutting is practiced creates a need for supporting these families in order to prevent the practice to be perpetuated in their daughters. For Wassu-UAB Foundation, the response lies in involving primary care professionals in a preventive intervention. This methodology, now adopted by Bilbao Council and that also raised interested within Gasteiz Council, has already been validated in Catalonia.

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Emakunde will address the reality of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Euskadi

The Women’s Basque Institute, Emakunde, will address the reality of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting cases in Euskadi and will design specific actions to approach it an holistic way, with the technical advice of the professor of health anthropology from the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Adriana Kaplan.

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Gospel at l’Auditori, in a fusion of funk and hip hop

L’Auditori Enric Granados, in Lleida, will receive the Catalan group Gospel Viu Choir, directed by Moisès Sala. The coral group will present the show “Non Stop Gospel”, in a fusion of gospel music with funk and hip hop. This solidary concert is organized by Fundació “la Caixa” Volunteers to support Wassu-UAB Foundation and Manos Unidas.

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“Only education can end Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting”

The anthropologist Adriana Kaplan spoke yesterday in a conference on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) at the City of Culture of the Universidad Laboral de Gijón. This morning, Prof. Kaplan will meet with the director of the Asturian Women’s Institute, Carmen Sanjurjo, and of the Asturian Agency for Cooperation and Development, Graciela Blanco, to present Wassu Foundation’s methodology. Prof. Kaplan advocates for a preventive work to be conducted with families settled in Spain in order to prevent their children to be subjected to FGM/C when travelling to Africa.

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Courts are not enough to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

The Spanish High Court has sentenced a mother for subjecting her daughter to the practice of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting before immigrating to Spain. This is the first time that a parent is sentenced for performing the practice on her daughter, or giving consent to do so, prior to his/her arrival to Spain. Experts defend that the use of legislation should be the last resort. The panel stresses that it is crucial to educate families on the health consequences of the practice to stop these aggressions, involving health, social and education professionals.

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Women against Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Spain

In Catalonia, the first Spanish region with a Protocol for the Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation, a number of courageous women share experiences and opinions on the best ways to approach and eradicate this controversial harmful traditional practice. Despite their different backgrounds (anthropology, justice, social services and pediatrics), they all agree on one word: dialogue, the key for prevention and true change.

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Amb ulls africans

In a comprehensive interview, the director of Wassu-UAB Foundation, Prof. Adriana Kaplan, talks about Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, the socio-cultural aspects embedding the practice and how it affects the health and well-being of girls and women. When asked about what can be done to promote its abandonment, she explains the need to preserve the cultural value of the practice, and why a scientific approach such as the one of Wassu-UAB Foundation can create a positive and sustainable change of behaviours.

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Prof. Adriana Kaplan in Àgora

Interview with Prof. Adriana Kaplan, anthropologist, activist against Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting and director of Wassu-UAB Foundation. Prof. Adriana Kaplan talks about her 20 years fighting against this harmful traditional practice, and of the pioneer methodology for prevention that is being implemented by her organization.


UAB embarks on preventing Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Gambia

The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) presented yesterday the Wassu-UAB Foundation, a project for the prevention of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. This pioneering initiative in Spain promotes a close collaboration with the Government of the Republic of The Gambia, a West-African country where this ancestral practice affects 76.3% of girls and women. "The Gambian immigrants have the highest fertility rate in Spain, which moves the problem to our country and raises the need to embark on strategies for prevention both here and in The Gambia," said the anthropologist and director for the new organization, Prof. Adriana Kaplan.

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Catalonia: UAB creates a foundation to prevent Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) has created the Wassu-UAB Foundation, a pioneer initiative for the prevention of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting through research applied to knowledge transfer. Through the work of the Foundation, health professionals, educational and social workers from both countries will be trained on the care and prevention of this harmful traditional practice, which affects over 14,000 girls in Spain.

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Health professionals from Central River Region trained on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

Thirty-five Gambian health professionals drawn from all parts of Central River Region (CRR) recently concluded a three-day training on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, learning how to manage its health consequences and what strategies use for prevention. The training was held at the Regional Health Team's conference hall in Bansang and counted with the presence of the Regional Health Director, Mr. Baba Njie.

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Mataró hosts a seminar on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

Awareness, education and prevention are the key words to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). Those were the words emphasized this morning by Marga García, social worker and member of the Interdisciplinary Group for the Study and Prevention of Harmful Traditional Practices at UAB, at the conference on FGM/C. This event, held at the Centre Civic del Pla d'en Boet, intended to create a space for dialogue with local professionals, especially those working directly with migrant communities. Prevention begins in wards and lasts throughout the life of the girl, noted Marga García.

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Álava cooperates to prevent Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

Tradition, purity and respect are the theoretical motivations that lie behind Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. This rite of passage is maintained in 28 sub-Saharan African countries and, according to the World Health Organization, is affecting 130 million women and girls, while an estimate 2 million girls are at risk of being subjected to it every year. The severity of its consequences led the Álava Council to cooperate with Wassu Gambia Kafo, a nongovernmental organization working in The Gambia to prevent this harmful traditional practice. The president of Wassu Gambia Kafo, Prof. Adriana Kaplan, came last week to thank this collaboration and present the outlines of a work which has also raised interest in the United Nations.

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Ten thousand girls are at risk of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Spain

80% of these children live in Catalonia, according to a study of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Nigeria, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Mauritania, Ghana and Cameroon are the main countries of origin of these girls. This research, leaded by Prof. Adriana Kaplan and sponsored by Fundació "la Caixa", resulted in the publication of a map of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Spain, a tool for policy makers, pediatricians, gynecologists, educators and social workers working with these children and families.

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