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Regional Training of Trainers in the GIZ “Generation Dialogue” approach

On behalf of the GIZ, Health Focus conducted a regional Training of Trainers (ToT) on the Generation Dialogue approach to address female genital cutting from 11 to 15 June in Dakar, Senegal. The participants included GIZ staff and representatives of GIZ partner organizations from Benin, Mauritania, Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.

The Generation Dialogue approach was originally developed by the GIZ in collaboration with community-based organizations in Guinea. The approach engages entire communities in a dialogue process that respects and appreciates their values and traditions; but that also acknowledges that the time may have come to adapt some of its longstanding practices, such as in this case: female genital cutting. Typically, the GIZ, or any other development agency, partners with one or more local organizations which then lead the implementation of the Generation Dialogue project at community level. Trained facilitators conduct five consecutive weekly Dialogue sessions with selected community members.  There are separate dialogue sessions for women and for men, focusing on listening and dialogue skills, the appreciation of a community’s heritage and traditions, the reasons for which communities still practice female genital cutting as an initiation rite, the harmful consequences of the practice and finally the development a joint vision for social change.

Many dialogue experiences have shown that once the community’s values and traditions have been appreciated and the reasons for an initiation rite acknowledged, even members of the older generation are prepared to think about the necessary actions, including their own, towards overcoming female genital cutting.  Following the fifth dialogue session, the participants who have now become “Dialogue Champions” invite the community as a whole to a public meeting. They present what they have learned from the other generations as well as their own “pledges” towards promoting respectful dialogue and “requests” for specific contributions to different leaders and community stakeholders. To further spread the spirit of Dialogue in their community, they follow-up on these pledges and requests for a 3-months period, during which they conduct “mini-dialogues” with families, excisors, community leaders, women’s and men’s associations, churches or mosques, youth clubs and schools. There is then a second public meeting at which the Dialogue Champions report on the changes that they and others have been able to achieve.

Health Focus is committed to further supporting training and capacity building efforts of partner organizations in order to reach more people and communities with the Generation Dialogue project.