21. aug, 2020

Providing support and training for asylum seekers in Belgium

Supporting women to overcome difficulties and PTSD related complaints

FGM (female genital mutilation) can cause immediate and long-term health problems for girls and women. FGM is a modification of girls’/women’s genital area, performed according to sociocultural logic in the absence of medical justification[1]. The practice has the high potential of causing haemorrhage and infections and interfering with normal physiological processes which can lead to severe physical health complications (e.g., urinary problems, infections, difficult childbirth) and even death[2]. This painful and often traumatizing procedure can also give rise to serious mental health predicaments (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety) [3]. It is estimated that at least 200 million women and girls currently alive have undergone FGM, and that more than 3.6 million additional cases of genital cutting occur worldwide every year[4].

The  Group for the Abolition of Female Genital Mutilation (GAMS) provides support to women concerned by FGM, forced marriages and other types of gender based violence that have come to Belgium (in- and outside asylum procedure, recognised refugees) through individual support, community support, awareness raising, training and advocacy. C4C has been invited to take part in these efforts. Together with GAMS we aim to develop cultural specific interventions for these vulnerable groups of people while restoring trust and confidence and building upon their strengths, interpersonal skills and cultural values.



[1] World Health Organization. Female genital mutilation (fact sheet). 2020. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/female-genitalmutilation. Accessed 4 Feb 2020.

[2] Andro A, Lesclingand M. Female genital mutilation. Overview and current knowledge. Institut National d’Études Démographiques. Population. 2016;71: 217–96.

[3] Institut National de la Statistique (INS) et ICF. Enquête démographique et de santé en Guinée 2018 : Indicateurs clés Conakry, Guinée, et Rockville, Maryland, États-Unis d’Amérique; 2018.

Mulongo P, Hollins Martin C, McAndrew S. The psychological impact of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) on girls/women’s mental health: a narrative literature review. J Reprod Infant Psychol. 2014;32(

[4] UNICEF. Female genital mutilation/cutting: A global concern. 2016. 6. UNICEF. Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change. New York: UNICEF; 2013. 186 pages