Honor our bodies, Educate our community, Respect our heritage aims to provide education and facilitate conversations with clinical and immigrant communities about FGM/C and it’s impact women. HER is a community-led and controlled Initiative, built on the belief that through education and dialogue, myths surrounding FGM/C will be dispelled, cultural and linguistically appropriate care increased, and relationships strengthened.

Led by Maine Access Immigrant Network, the HER Initiative has facilitated individual and collective conversations with over 800 community members and clinical providers, legislators, and faith leaders in Maine. HER community members developed rack cards with helpful hints for women and clinical providers on how to start conversations about FGM/C in culturally sensitive ways. In honoring our community-driven approach, men and women were both engaged in respectful and open conversations on this sensitive topic.

The HER Initiative helped ensure that people most affected by proposed FGM/C legislation were given a seat at the legislative table to ask questions and express their opinions in an authentic, non-sensational manner. Community members reported an increased sense of self-mastery and greater confidence in their ability to navigate a complex legislative process.

Partnerships For Health facilitated a community-driven evaluation on FGM/C-related knowledge, attitudes and perceptions. This included making members of the community an integral part of the evaluation team, and using their knowledge, expertise, input, and feedback to guide all evaluation stages. The result was one of the largest response rates nationally.

Across the United States, we have contributed to the conversation formally through participation in the Office on Women’s Health grantee meetings, US CDC Division of Reproductive Health, US Conference on African Immigrant Health, American Evaluation Association, American Public Health Association, Eastern Evaluation Research Society. Informally, the HER Initiative has shared resources, experience and perspective nationally with pediatricians, law enforcement, community agencies, and researchers.

Please click the link below to download the full report.