Knowledge transfer at the Wassu Foundation
Numerous efforts to encourage people to abandon FGM have shown us that imposing its eradication is not the way to achieve socio-cultural change. On the contrary, it sparks resistance that serves to perpetuate the practice, sometimes clandestinely.
Real change comes from within, it cannot be imposed. Only when people are really able to make a choice can lasting change be achieved. They make real choices when they have information, can understand the harmful consequences of the practice, and recognise its negative impact on their lives. All this stems from dialogue that is respectful towards the socio-cultural context.
Following our methodology, knowledge gained on the ground is cascaded down to institutions and key actors who, in turn, pass it on to their communities. The institutions are strategically placed to take decisions, so they must have access to accurate, up-to-date information.
The key social actors are carefully chosen on the basis of their potential impact on the living conditions of women and girls who have either suffered or are at risk of suffering the consequences of FGM. Our experience and research show that teachers and healthcare and social workers are in a privileged position to transfer knowledge to their communities and multiply its effect, thanks to their proximity, accessibility and universality. Meanwhile, religious and local leaders take decisions at community level and their participation is therefore crucial to the success of any intervention.