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Brief introduction :Principles of “Do No Harm” in the Context of FGM/C

  Brief introduction :Principles of “Do No Harm” in the Context of FM/C
FGM/C is a sensitive, taboo and sometimes highly political and perceived religious issue that goes to the heart of gender identity and gender relations. Insensitive approaches and implementation could risk driving the practice underground, undermining existing efforts to end the practice, contributing to a backlash, adding to other political/conflict tensions, etc.”

Do No Harm’ (DNH) is an ethical principle underpinning much research and health and social programming. It means that those undertaking research and/or intervention should not, intentionally or otherwise, cause harm. There is a risk of social change interventions inadvertently creating societal divisions, particularly in contexts of conflict and fragility. Negative effects are often unforeseen and unintended.

1.Simplistic media exposé of FGM/C, which is sensational and demeaning to girls and women who have undergone FGM/C (e.g. focus on graphic images on mutilation and screaming of girls)
2.Criticism of the culture as a whole instead of the practice
3.Use of terms like ‘barbaric’ and ‘savage’ in relation to the ‘other’ (those practicing FGM)
4.Lack of authenticity of messengers becoming the public face of campaigns
5.Poor messaging on health consequences of FGM whereby Type III FGM complications are assigned to Type I, Type II and some aspects of Type IV
6.Inability to translate international human rights law on FGM into convincing local messages that make sense to the grassroots

7.Blaming one religion or ethnic group for FGM/C
8.Strident or aggressive messaging focusing on women’s rights and sexual freedoms which may alienate some social conservatives who otherwise might support an end to FGM/C
9.Blaming all men as responsible for FGM/C
10.Inflexibility on the use of terminology of FGM/C
11.Using FGM/C to attract political votes, drive organisational membership and funding for other issues not necessarily connected to FGM/C
12.Lack of transparency and accountability in the use of FGM/C funds
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