BASNEWS | 04.06.2017
Female Circumcisions or Female Genital Mutilation in Kurdistan
Circumcision is defined as cutting of female external genitalia which is carried out by traditional...
WEEKLY STANDARD | 17.06.2015
Confronting FGM in Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan
Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) exists in the Islamic Republic of Iran even...
stopfgmmideast | 20.05.2015
Campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan: Paying a visit to a Mullah who promoted FGM
The shock was great when the Iraqi Kurdish Xelk Media Network reported about a Kurdish Mullah...
THE TELEGRAPH | 04.03.2015
"If they mutilate my granddaughter? I’ll kill them’. Meet Iraqi village ending FGM
Amirah vividly recalls the day she was taken into a bathroom by the village midwife and forced to...
biomedcentral | 06.02.2015
The diversity of Kurdish women’s perspectives of female genital mutilation
The 6th February is marked by the United Nations sponsored awareness day, International...
WADI | 10.02.2015
International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM in the Kurdistan Parliament
Wadi, UNICEF and the High Council of Women Affairs launched an event about how...
stopfgmmideast | 05.02.2015
Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM: We need more campaigns in Asia
On the fifth official International Day of Zero Tolerance to female genital mutilation (FGM)...
WADI | 02.02.2015
Four new TV-spots Wadi has produced supported by UNICEF
as part of the ongoing campaign to eliminate FGM in Iraqi-Kurdistan. These spots will be aired by different TV stations...
Female Genital Mutilation a Growing Problem in Iran
The hideous practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is neither an exclusively Muslim nor a...
ORCHIDPROJECT | 17.12.2014
KMEWO Event on FGC
On November 13th 2014, the Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women Organisation (KMEWO)...
WADI | 09.12.2014
Radio feature on WADI’s efforts to improve the situation of Free FGM Villages in Iraqi-Kurdistan
“Fichar” program at Radio Deng, an independent Radio station in Kalar, did a feature on WADI as...
WADI | 03.12.2014
Kurdish FGM-Free Village invited to Talkshow
Kurdistan's first FGM-free village as talk show guests on 'Binewshe" (KurdSat TV) to... | 18.10.2014
A Kurdish girl's story of Female genital mutilation FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan
As we all know from news reports from the region, the people of Iraqi Kurdistan have been...
TRUST.ORG | 09.09.2014
Iraqi Kurdistan could end FGM in a generation - expert
Female genital mutilation could be eradicated in Iraqi Kurdistan within a generation, a U.N...
The Guardian | 08.09.2014
Majority in Iraqi Kurdistan oppose female genital mutilation
Survey reveals widespread knowledge of FGM's dangers, with 68% of people saying it...
stop fgm mideast | 29.07.2014
FGM in Iraq: The hoax of a hoax?
Last week a statement by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was circulating in Arab...
WADI BLOG | 22.07.2014
Islamic caliphate labels female genital mutilation obligatory
Recently the Islamic state issued a fatwa which called female genital mutilation a religious...
WADI | 14.07.2014
One in four women in Central and Southern Iraq is affected by Female Genital Mutilation, new study suggests
A first independent study on female genital mutilation in central/southern Iraq finds that...
HIVOS | 13.06.2014
Kurdish villages declare themselves FGM-free
For ten years, Hivos partner WADI has been campaigning against female genital...
wadi | 05.06.2014
Cooperation agreement between UNICEF and WADI to combat FGM in Northern Iraq
UNICEF and WADI just signed a contract to boost the ongoing...
Gatestone Inst. | 07.05.2014
Solidarity Against Female Genital Mutilation
"No victim files charges against her own parents." — Rayeyeh Mozafarian, University of Shiraz...
stopfgmmideast | 30.04.2014
Second Middle East Conference on FGM to tackle myths
The Second Middle East & Asia Conference on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by WADI and...
opendemocracy | 14.02.2014
Embracing shame: turning honour on its head
The challenge that embracing shame poses to the longstanding perversion of honour, is the... | 10.02.2014
Continues battle against Female Genital Mutilation FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan
For many years, people have believed that practicing of female genital mutilation (FGM) is...
wadi | 05.02.2014
Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation; Action in Asia is needed
On the fourth official International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female genital mutilation (FGM), the...
RUDAW.NET | 27.01.2014
A Slow Fight for Kurdistan’s Women
“It is like digging a well with a fingernail. Our work is very slow. But we did make progress.”
DEUTSCHE WELLE | 09.12.2013
Iraqi Kurdistan fights female circumcision
Female circumcision is slowly declining in Iraqi Kurdistan. Years of campaigning and a law...
RUDAW.NET | 29.11.2013
Kurdistan Premier: Stronger Policies Needed to Combat Gender Violence
Two years ago the KRG passed a law banning violence against women including genital...
BBC | 07.11.2013
BBC-Documentary: Dropping the Knife; The Fight against FGM
A BBC-Documentary: Dropping the knife; the fight against FGM...
CPT | 04.11.2013
IRAQI KURDISTAN: WADI shifts attitudes toward Female Genital Mutilation
On 30 October 2013, CPT’s partner organization, WADI Iraq office, organized a press...
AL-MONITOR | 02.11.2013
Female Circumcision Continues in Iraqi Kurdistan
Despite the efforts of Kurdish civil society organizations and the media to shed light on the...
HIVOS | 27.10.2013
WADI’s ground-breaking campaign against FGM: interview
Falah Moradhkin is WADI’s project coordinator in Iraq. He was one of the few who survived a...
BBC RADIO | 25.10.2013
Kurdistan's success in stemming Female Genital Mutilation
Kurdistan is one of Iraq's rare success stories, the region has enjoyed an oil boom and...
GULFNEWS.COM | 24.10.2013
How Kurdistan ended female genital mutilation
Two years ago, FGM was banned as part of a wide-ranging law to improve women’s rights...
the guardian | 24.10.2013
FGM: the film that changed the law in Kurdistan
Two filmmakers spent almost a decade reporting the greatest taboo subject in Kurdish society...
BIOMED CENTRAL | 08.09.2013
Female genital mutilation among Iraqi Kurdish women: a cross-sectional study from Erbil city
Iraqi Kurdistan region is one of the areas where female genital...
wadi | 14.08.2013
Rate of FGM decreases in some regions of Iraqi Kurdistan
The British MP Gary Kent has traveled again to Iraqi-Kurdistan and recently wrote an article...
The Independent | 31.05.2013
Fighting against Female Genital Mutilation in Iraq
It is a misguided belief that Islam requires young women be circumcised...
CIP | 22.03.2013
The Global Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation Continues
A global campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation [FGM], often misnamed "female...
Kurdistantribune | 04.03.2013
Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in the Kurdistan Region
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by the Word Health Organization (WHO) as...
UN Special | 06.02.2013
The long road to the first FGM-free villages in Iraq
According to a large survey conducted in 2009, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is...




USAID | 05.10.2006  original text

Iraqi Civil Society Advocates Against Harmful Practices

In rural areas of Iraq’s northern provinces, female genital mutilation (FGM) is thought to be practiced on 20% or more of the female population. In some areas, the practice is widespread. Wadi, an Iraqi Civil Society Organization (CSO) with an office in the Kurdish district of Germian, conducted a study of over 1,500 rural women and found that an alarming 60 percent of respondents reported having undergone the procedure.

Although FGM is largely an inherited practice from ancient tradition, many in rural areas consider it required by Islamic law. Wadi, with training, technical assistance, and grant support from the USAIDfunded Iraq Civil Society Program (ICSP), is helping combat this harmful practice by raising awareness of the health risks associated with FGM in 20 villages located in and around Erbil, Mosul, and Kirkuk.

At a January 2006 workshop for women from the villages of Kardiz and Mala, Wadi’s intervention yielded immediate results. Following a format developed in part during project design sessions between ICSP and Wadi, a social worker explained the practice and dangers of FGM. She then showed a documentary produced by two local filmmakers, which included the testimonies of both a doctor and a Muslim cleric advocating against the practice. Finally, the social worker opened up discussion. Two women participants, Laaly and Khadija, confessed to having performed this operation on girls in the village of Kardiz. Laaly commented: “My job was performing [this] on girls and I was doing it as a charity… We collected a group of girls from 5-7 years of age as required by their families, and chose one room in the village for doing the operation in group. But after I saw this documentary, it was clear that message was effective—especially the sermon of a religious man and the advice from [a village doctor]".

“I promise that I will not do this deed, and I will not only stop this work, but I will advise all women in the village to protect their girls and support them against this horrible operation.”

In addition to outreach through two female-led intervention teams, Wadi intends to expand the reach of its awareness raising efforts through television and radio programming, and will include Zhian Health Organization as a new partner in taking the pilot project to scale. The outreach is even being felt beyond Iraq’s borders: women’s groups in neighboring countries, such as Syria, have become aware of Wadi efforts and are beginning to undertake their own investigations. This is just one positive spillover effect of USAID and other donor support to Iraq’s nascent democratic institutions and civil society networks. For perhaps the first time, women and civil society organizations in the Middle East are becoming aware of and acting against this violation of human rights and peculiar form of gender-based violence.

Combating FGM by overcoming the inertia of tradition and misunderstanding is no easy task. But with USAID’s support of civil society organizations (CSOs) committed to advocacy and awareness raising, the people of Iraq are combating this harmful practice, one woman at a time.

Leveraging USAID technical assistance

Wadi has benefited from a strong relationship with the Erbil Civil Society Resource Center, one of ICSP’s four regional hubs providing CSO capacity building services to indigenous groups. The Erbil center is charged with serving CSOs in Iraq’s northern provinces of Tameem, Ninawa, Dahuk, Erbil, and Sulaimania.

In May 2005, representatives of Wadi attended a skills building workshop to increase organizational capacity in areas such as general and financial management, advocacy capacity, and internal governance. In July and September 2005, in anticipation of the October 15 referendum on the constitution, Wadi attended ICSP awareness raising events in order to promote and advocate for women’s guaranteed legal, political, economic, and social rights. The Women’s Advocacy unit in the Erbil resource center delivered a dedicated technical assistance session to Wadi on awareness raising and project design in October 2005.

The result of ICSP’s training and technical assistance is apparent in Wadi’s evolving role from recipient of training and technical assistance to full partner with the Erbil resource center. It was collaboration between Wadi and ICSP that helped identify and engage Zhian Health Organization as a new partner in expanding the FGM awareness campaign. Additionally, the Erbil resource center was a cooperating partner with Wadi in organizing a conference on combating FGM in February 2006.

About Wadi

Wadi is a German NGO founded in 1991 to support democratization and civil society development in Middle Eastern societies, with special emphasis on improving the social and economic situation of women. Wadi has been active in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq since 1993, with a home office in the city of Suleimaniah.

In June 2003, a group of women from the Khanzad Shelter for Women, a Wadi beneficiary, decided they wanted to expand their women’s empowerment activities to other fields and geographical areas. They were already familiar with Wadi’s activities and mission and, rather than register as a newly-created NGO, thought to incorporate as an independent branch of Wadi in the city of Erbil.

Wadi-Erbil went on to open a women’s center in Mosul, began working in the Erbil women’s prison, and created Mobile Female Teams to support women and children in rural areas. Wadi has also participated in a variety of conferences and seminars, and in February 2004 helped organize a national women’s conference in Baghdad with grant support through a USAID local governance initiative implemented by Research Triangle Institute (RTI).

Since 1993, Wadi Mobile Female Teams in all branches have assisted thousands of vulnerable women and children through women’s shelters, kindergartens for the children of displaced persons, a radio show for women’s and youth issues, and other initiatives. In addition to USAID support through the ICSP Erbil resource center, Wadi has worked with USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), and donors such as the Rosello Foundation, International Rescue Committee of Spain (RESCATE), and Optimists Austria.

About Iraq Civil Society Program

The Iraq Civil Society Support Program (ICSP) is a $40 million U.S. Government initiative to promote an informed, sustainable, and active Iraqi civil society participating within a democratic system of governance. ICSP is implemented by America’s Development Foundation (ADF) on behalf of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

ICSP builds the organizational and advocacy capacity of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) through four Civil Society Resource Centers (CSRCs) to serve as regional hubs for the delivery of training and technical assistance and help Iraqi CSOs serve their constituents and mission. The resource centers are entirely Iraqi staffed and operated, and provide a full range of capacity building assistance. Special efforts are paid to Iraqi CSOs engaged in civic education, women's advocacy, media, anti-corruption, and human rights. A small grants fund is reserved for specific actions in support of these issue areas.

ICSP has engaged approximately 2,000 Iraqi CSOs, awarded 391 grants worth over $6 million in small grant support, and delivered roughly 3,600 training and technical assistance sessions reaching over 30,000 CSO members. ICSP awareness raising activities – forums and regional and national conferences – have reached another 13,000 Iraqis. Thirty-eight percent of all Iraqis reached by ICSP activities are women.

The impact of ICSP is manifest in the independent actions of Iraqi CSOs in response to training or technical assistance from ICSP resource centers, small grant assistance, or both. As of March 2006, ICSP has officially documented 449 instances of CSOs exercising their right to assembly, awareness raising, and advocacy that is the hallmark of a vibrant civil society within a pluralistic and democratic Iraq.