The 4th of January 2020, we organized a focus group discussion in The Hague, in cooperation with FSAN (Federation of Somali Associations in the Netherlands). The topic of the focus group was Clitoral Reconstructive Surgery after Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).
We invited about 15 key persons of FSAN to attend this focus group. The reason we gathered these wonderful women is to understand which questions arise about Clitoral Reconstructive Surgery when they do their work in their own communities in the Netherlands.
This focus group discussion was part of our larger mission to create a digital Knowledge Platform about Clitoral Reconstructive Surgery. We found out that there are many questions and misconceptions about this surgery. Therefore, we decided that we want to create an informative brochure with more information about the surgery. Through this brochure, we aim to bridge the knowledge gap on the surgery for potential patients and for medical professionals as well.
We were very happy that Dr. Refaat Karim (plastic surgeon), Marthine Bos (GGD IJsselland) and Zahra Naleie (FSAN) joined us and shared their knowledge as well. As the discussion unfolded, many questions and misconceptions were shared concerning the surgery and its potential advantages for women who experienced FGM/C. By the end of the day, we were already able to get more answers and create more understanding as a group. It became clear to us that key persons are in desperate need of clear information to provide their community members with the right answers and support.Some take-away messages from this fruitful day included:
- There is a clear lack of knowledge and many misconceptions exist concerning FGM/C and Clitoral Reconstructive Surgery.
- These misconceptions should be properly addressed with scientific evidence and knowledge.
- Scientific evidence and knowledge need to be made available and translated in a way that everybody understands.
- Key persons prefer to have a hardcopy brochure with more information, that they can give to women who consider undergoing the surgery.
We returned home with a lot of input in relation to how we can share our knowledge. We promised the key persons that we will develop a flyer that addresses all the questions that we discussed during the focus group discussion.The brochure will be launched the 6th of February as part of Zero Tolerance Day in the Netherlands! Further updates on the launch of our Knowledge Platform will be shared on this website.