The FlickFrid Project – Help vulnerable girls
Ever wanted to help make a big difference in someone’s life?
Rotary-based FlickFrid in Landskrona, Sweden, wants to provide financial support to the Monica and Carl-Axel Ekman's Foundation - Project Garissa in Kenya - a project that in collaboration with the local organizations Womankind and SIMAHO runs a girls’ home, a girls' school and a maternity clinic where women receive help during childbirth and where midwives receive training.
A very important part of the foundation's work is to fight the cruel practice of female genital mutilation through education and the spreading of information. Monica (1925-2007) and Carl-Axel Ekman (1922-2018) came to Garissa for the first time in 1989. He was a doctor, she a dentist; both sent out by Rotary Doctors Sweden. Carl-Axel Ekman was a former chief surgeon at Borås Hospital in Sweden. He worked for more than 20 years to improve the situation for girls and young women in Garissa.
In Garissa, a girls' home was built where 117 orphaned girls find a safe haven. It also includes a girls' school with about 400 students who are taught by 11 teachers. In addition, there is a maternity home with an associated maternity clinic and a children’s clinic where the midwives both save lives and provide information about the effects of FGM on women’s life and health.*
As a doctor for the Elfsborg's football team in Sweden, Carl-Axel Ekman was also called the “football doctor” and in Garissa he discussed female genital mutilation with the players on the local football team. Today, the foundation supports three local football clubs and the players wear t-shirts with the message Say NO TO FGM, which means Say NO to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM = Female Genital Mutilation). Involving men and boys in the prevention work is very important. In 2008, Carl-Axel Ekman was awarded the Swedish Hero Award for his great contribution to this cause.
Speaking out against female genital mutilation
In Landskrona, the FlickFrid project contributes to this work by providing factual information about the consequences of female genital mutilation. The project is based on the statement in the Bill of Human Rights that every individual has the right to decide over his or her own body.
Breaking the tradition of female genital mutilation is a radical change in the thousand-year-old tradition and will likely take generations. Female genital mutilation has no connection to a particular religion, but rather a clear social and cultural connection. In order to limit and eventually abolish female circumcision, it is of great importance to change the expectations of women and girls by their families, as well as by society at large.
A challenge associated with this is finding possible sources of income for women. In many areas where circumcision is practiced, an uncircumcised woman is an outcast and cannot expect to get married. She will therefore be financially dependent on the practice of female genital mutilation.
All forms of female genital mutilation affect women's reproductive health during pregnancy and childbirth. Female genital mutilation has negative effects on the physical and mental health of infants, girls and women. Female genital mutilation is seen today as part of the so-called honour-related violence. The FlickFrid project, however, limits its efforts to focus only on women and female genital mutilation. In Sweden, female circumcision is prohibited by law, leading to a prison sentence.
Kenya has the ‘Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act’
which is an Act of Parliament that prohibits the practice of female genital mutilation, to safeguard against violation of a person’s mental or physical integrity through the practice of female genital mutilation and for connected purposes. A board known as the Anti-female Genital Mutilation Board has been established
The functions of the Board are amongst other things to:
- generally advise the Government on matters relating to female genital mutilation and the implementation of this Act
- perform any such other functions as may be assigned by any written law
Considered Offences are e.g. Performing FGM
A person, including a person undergoing a course of training while under supervision by a medical practitioner or midwife ….., who performs female genital mutilation on another person and causes the death of that other person, shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for life.
How can we prevent FGM from happening?
Project FlickFrid focuses on the good forces and efforts that in the long term strengthen women's opportunities to decide for themselves, their bodies, and their lives. Our view is that the best way to prevent female genital mutilation without creating too much confrontation is through factual information about the consequences for women's health and quality of life. With backing from the top political leadership in the city of Landskrona, FlickFrid has implemented information and training initiatives for selected employees in the municipality within the school and social welfare administration.
As female genital mutilation is seen as a part of honour-related violence, the FlickFrid project goes hand in hand with the Zero Tolerance Landskrona project, which aims to break the silence about sexualized violence against children.