• Learning from diversity, building synergies.

As a fundamental contribution, Wassu-UAB Foundation hosts the Transnational Observatory of Applied Research to New Strategies for the Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), with two research and training centres:

  • In Spain, the Interdisciplinary Group for the Prevention and Study of Harmful Traditional Practices at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology in the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB).
  • In The Gambia, Wassu Gambia Kafo, a local NGO that promotes development and cooperation between the Republic of The Gambia and Spain in the fields of health, research and education.

The Interdisciplinary Research Group for the Prevention and Study of Harmful Traditional Practices (IGPS/HTP) was set up in 2003, in the framework of the line of research inaugurated at the Dpt. of Social and Cultural Anthropology by Prof. Adriana Kaplan at the UAB. Its aim was the development of a programme of applied research that would enable the establishment of a comprehensive strategy to prevent FGM/C, incorporating the vast field experience gathered in The Gambia and the knowledge resultant from the study of the processes of acculturation and social integration of the migratory movements from Sub-Saharan African countries to Spain.

With the creation of the Wassu-UAB Foundation, the IGPS/HTP has been integrated as one of the research and training centres that make part of the Transnational Observatory of Applied Research to New Strategies for the Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.

The team, made up of social scientists (demography, law, anthropology, social work, pedagogy, etc.) and health professionals (gynecology-obstetrics, pediatrics, family medicine, public health & nursing), carries out applied research and training activities in Spain, promoting a preventive approach towards FGM/C. As a result of this intervention, an increasing number of migrant families are now supported by qualified professionals in the areas of health, education and social services, who understand and respect their cultural beliefs. In an environment free of judgment, parents are informed about the health consequences of FGM/C and the legal implications of the Spanish legislation towards the practice, being able to take informed decisions with regard to their daughters.

Wassu Gambia Kafo (WGK) is a nongovernmental organisation established by Prof. Adriana Kaplan in 1999, as a first institutional effort to promote the cooperation and development between the Republic of The Gambia and Spain, in the fields of health, research and education.

Throughout the years, WGK has been working closely with governmental, non-governmental, international and local organisations, professionals and community members, empowering people to take informed decisions by transferring knowledge for the FGM/C prevention. WGK conducts applied research in-country in order to gather reliable data on FGM/C, contributing to a deeper understanding of the practice. WGK has been responsible for providing the first scientific evidence on the health consequences of FGM/C for Gambian girls, women and newborns.

This scientific evidence provides the basis for the trainings delivered by the organisation and is available for all those involved in advocacy and decision-making. Committed with building the capacities of health professionals and students on FGM/C, WGK has collaborated with the University of The Gambia to introduce the issue on the Academic Curriculum, now being implemented in all medical, nursing and midwifery schools throughout the country. WGK also donates teaching and learning materials, and has created and maintains the only Computer Center existent at the School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences of the University of The Gambia. At the same time, WGK supports the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare through the donation of medical and laboratory equipment, drugs and clinical supplies to various hospitals and health facilities in The Gambia.