Improving health and wellbeing, combating harmful practices

Berhan Lehetsanat, Ethiopia

2019-2022, with the support of Jersey Overseas Aid

Berhan Lehetsanat’s community-based project themes are education, health and livelihoods, benefiting disabled children, girls, youth, women, and parents of disabled children. We have been partners since 2003.

The aim of this project is to secure better health outcomes for girls and women, including those with disabilities. Training and awareness-raising and sustained engagement on health and anti-HTPs at the grassroots, school and community levels will, we hope, lead to greater awareness of the harms caused by persisting with these practices, as well as stressing the legal and social sanctions.

We will focus on the health benefits of reducing all forms of HTPs that harm and disempower women and girls. Key to this is promoting girls’ confidence and ability to advocate with their peers and families, emphasizing the health message through school clubs and community conversations, while also raising awareness and among their mothers and grandmothers, some of whom may have been HTP/FGM practitioners.

For real change to happen, men and boys must also be part of this discourse, as must government and religious establishments. We have therefore taken a whole-community approach which includes Malga’s Health, Education, Women and Child offices, police department, and all their staff to cooperate with community groups and leaders, religious leaders, church youth groups and the BL team, forming a coalition of anti-HTP community groups.