We are delighted to have contributed to a UK government flagship programme to end FGM/C! The Africa-Led Movement to end Female Genital Mutilation (ALM) is a 5-year programme established by the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) of the Government of the United Kingdom. They have a vision of a world free from FGM/C by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, and the ALM is part of their contribution. The programme was led by Options Consultancy Services, which formed an implementation consortium between Amref Health Africa, ActionAid UK, Shujaaz Inc/Well Made Strategy, Orchid Project, ACCAF, and the University of Portsmouth. Options Consultancy reached out requesting we provide technical leadership and oversee the delivery of the co-creation phase requirements. More specifically, we defined and developed an overall programme strategy and Theory of Change (ToC).
The first phase of this programme was made of two initiatives: the Girl Generation and the Evidence to End FGM Research Programme. This provided significant evidence and learning that would be used to move forward. To develop the programme strategy and ToC for phase II, we first had to create a solid plan and a process focused on efficient communication with all relevant stakeholders and short feedback loops. Dr. Annemarie Middelburg conducted interviews with all consortium partners, leadership team members, and UK government representatives. Afterward, we asked all stakeholders to share key strategic documents that could inform the overall strategy. These included program strategies, ToCs, baseline reviews, impact evaluations, seasonal reviews, and policy briefs. Additionally, we consulted all phase-I relevant documents to certify that the subsequent strategy/ToC aligned with previous work, including Tthe Girl Generation and the Evidence to End FGM Research Programme.
Based on all the information gathered to this point, we developed a zero draft that included an initial outline of the overall strategy/ToC. Dr. Annemarie Middelburg presented the draft during an online workshop, where all stakeholders were invited to provide feedback. We held break-out sessions to discuss key concepts and the impact of the ALM, discuss potential pathways of change, and define the way forward. In the following phase, the University of Portsmouth and the Population Council collaborated in gathering evidence and data from both organizations that could enhance our work. During a couple of workshops, we discussed the updated strategy/ToC with all consortium partners and reviewed the pathways of change. With a new strategy version in hand, we held another session to discuss possible ways to visualize the final work. In the meantime, we held 1:1 interviews with consortium partners and external experts to brainstorm and discuss the strategic approach. During one last workshop, we shared and reviewed a beautiful visualization of the fully updated final strategy/ToC.
The consortium partners, the leadership team and FCDO were pleased with the overall strategy and ToC. We took an adaptive programming approach at heart and made sure the girls are at the center of the programme. The strategy was backed by scientific evidence and succeeded at recognizing the intersecting identities that inform girl’s and women’s lives while also incorporating the socio-ecological model. Although deadlines were tight, we accomplished excellent results that we are very proud of.