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The Tackling FGM Initiative: Evaluation of the Second Phase (2013-2016)

The Tackling Female Genital Mutilation Initiative (TFGMI) was launched in June 2010 at the House of Lords and hosted by its Patron, Baroness Ruth Rendell, who sadly passed away in 2015. She would be proud to hear of the progress made over the six-year life of the Initiative, which this evaluation covers in detail.

The TFGM Initiative became a reality after a consultation meeting in 2009, initiated by three funders - City Parochial Foundation (now known as Trust for London), Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Rosa, the UK Fund for Women and Girls. These Trusts had been supporting key organisations in this field and were beginning to receive an increased number of applications from groups working towards ending this harmful traditional practice. We felt that a collaborative funding programme might help in making a bigger impact by bringing together key stakeholders to tackle this sensitive area of funding. The consultation meeting brought together stakeholders in the issue: people from the voluntary and community sector, statutory agencies such as Safeguarding Boards, Metropolitan Police and experts from the health field and, in particular, midwives.

As a result an initial £1 million was invested in 12 organisations in England and Wales, based within affected communities, to fund community-based, preventive work to safeguard children from the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), initially for a three-year period. Rosa played a coordinating role and employed a development worker to act as liaison between the funders, the funded groups, the evaluators and broader stakeholders. An Advisory Group was created, involving many of the attendees of the initial consultation meeting, and during the life of the TFGMI many lively discussions were held on several topics including the differences between 'designer vagina' and FGM; the vilification of minority groups; prosecutions and how to secure them; the promotion of human rights approaches; how schools tackle the issue; and how Local Safeguarding Children Boards can protect children.

At the same time the government appointed a coordinator, based within the FCO and Home Office, to ensure cross department co-operation on FGM. So in 2010 it felt we were well placed to see change happen. And indeed change has happened.