Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a detrimental issue that countless governmental and nongovernmental efforts have been seeking to overcome over the years. Many of those working to stop this practice include many Egyptian youth who truly believe in the mission.
With so much passion and dedication involved in the efforts against FGM, examples that show signs of positive change become core in rejuvenating this passion and keeping the efforts going. During the 1st quarter of 2021, Ragab attended the FGM Capacity Building training batch conducted by Etijah in collaboration with the MoYS and the UNFPA to raise the awareness about the issue and equip them with the tools necessary to cascade that awareness to their communities. Ragab, however, expressed his opinion in support of FGM which presented an opportunity for constructive dialogue and to showcase the effectiveness of awareness raising and capacity building sessions.
Ragab was one of the male participants from Aswan who genuinely believed that FGM was a positive practice that has religious roots. Ragab expressed that FGM is important to help ensure “modesty” and “purity” for women. However, this belief was not new for the trainers who have extensive experience and relative professional backgrounds in the field.
Accordingly, the trainers urged Ragab to keep an open attitude towards the content presented and to actively engage with the trainers and other participants to truly express his opinion through constructive dialogue. Throughout the sessions, Ragab proved to be willing to learn which was met by the trainer’s willingness to inform him using professional and even religious information to help him from his own opinion based on a solid educated background. Hence, the trainers explained how FGM is harmful both physically and psychologically, they explained how modesty is related to one’s own thoughts and is scientifically not guaranteed by a practice like FGM.
As a result, Ragab was finally able to understand the harms of FGM and the importance of raising awareness s about it to his community. This process of active dialogue based on participation from all attendees ensures that the concepts discussed are well understood by everyone and are later more likely to be embraced by the attendees who form their own attitudes and opinions by learning how to research for objective and scientific information, how to discuss that information with others and to critique the information they hear or read, and to finally be able to cascade that information to others around them. Eventually, a gradual process of change occurs through the development of existing ideas and concepts to reach a “synthesis” that can be better for the population as a whole.