Somalia: FGM Reduction and Women’s Empowerment Initiative 2015
Over the past few years, Arizona has been linked with Somalia mainly through the refugee resettlement program in Tucson, Arizona. Initially, Somalian refugees started to come to our office to seek assistance for small business development loans, job training, Youth Work Experience, charter school education, and health-related issues. As more and more Somalis came to Tucson, we began to make home visits in neighborhoods that were most populated by the refugees. Along the way we were put in touch with a non-profit organization in Mogadishu Somalia that was working on this critical health issue affecting young girls and women known as Female Genital manipulation (FGM). This made us aware of potential serious life-threatening complications facing pregnant women whom were coming from Somalia. The organization known as AED or Aid and Education Development initiative.
As it turned out, one of our own employees almost died during childbirth because the complications of FGM were not well understood. Upon our contact with the aforementioned Somali nonprofit organization we came up with an idea of a three day FGM Reduction Workshop. This workshop would include 20 women that would be trained to work towards FGM reduction in their home communities (see attached photo). From the workshop a study was produced as well as some papers from fieldworkers familiar with the issue have been published.
On June 17, a meeting with the Banner University of Arizona gynecological physicians, where a discussion of FGM will be front and center; with both call ins from the Somalian community in Minnesota as well as Mogadishu will take place. Local Somali women who have experienced FGM will also be present to tell their story. Hopefully, from this discussion efforts on both continents will be made towards FGM reduction. PPEP, Inc. plans further workshops in FGM awareness as well as health, nutrition, and the natural cure diabetes. PPEP, Inc. will focus on linking exchanges between the medical, human service organizations that have dealings with the refugees and those serving them.
Presently, we are supporting the AED organization in Somalia to develop grant applications for health related issues. The next women’s empowerment workshop will be on the Natural Cure of and Prevention of Diabetes. Dr. Gabriel Cousens (Tree of Life) will assist in putting together the curriculum outline. PPEP will be sending packets of organic vegetables to local small family farmers so they can become sustainable.
The relevance of these initiatives is that Arizona and Minnesota are among the highest recipients of Somalian refugees in North America. By having collaborating with NGO’s on both continents working in consent to address those issues that most affect United States Somalian Refugees as well as alleviate those issues in the sending nation. Somalian joins Ethiopia as our PPEP WARES East African arm.