Our Impact

WISE provided the practitioners with religious training in the form of accurate scriptural interpretation and included a certificate from Al-Azhar University confirming that FGC is un-Islamic which gave the practitioners the religious authority to stop the practice themselves and advocate for its cessation throughout their communities.

Eradicating FGM in Egypt:
Phase 1

In phase one, the program effectively reduced the rate of FGM in the Dair El Nahia region of Giza, Egypt:

  • Two of the major pilot project practitioners stopped all FGM practices: Neither Amin the barber nor Zeinab the midwife conducted any procedures during their project periods. Additionally, neither has reverted to their old practices in the months since the project ended.
  • Weekly monitoring indicated that the barber and midwife followed the program conditions 90% of the time: The majority of the non-compliance issues occurred in the initial weeks of the project and were related to hygiene (e.g. not wearing a clean uniform, not using hot water, not cleaning outside the shop).
  • The program has effectively resulted in 264 fewer FGC procedures
  • The economic incentives program proved effective and replicable in deterring FGC: Based on the projects’ operating budgets, estimates are that it costs $16.66 to stop one FGC procedure by the health barber and $10.20 to stop one procedure by the midwife

Eradicating FGM in Egypt:
Phase 2

Phase two of the program targeted two additional FGM practitioners in Dair El Nahia, Giza:

  • Five awareness sessions were conducted monthly from June to October 2010, with 65 members of the Dair El Nahia region attending each session: 70% of the attendees were female and 30% were male. Sessions were held at the Youth Center in Dair El Nahia and outlined the legal, social, psychological, and health consequences of practicing FGM. Additionally, the religious aspects of FGM were explored through a discussion of the critical role men play in perpetrating and combating FGM.
  • Two training workshops educated community leaders on the hazardous effects of FGM on the health of women and girls: These Dair El Nahia workshops helped build a stronger coalition of advocates against FGM in the region.
  • Five families—one a month—were awarded economic incentives for agreeing not to allow their daughters to undergo FGM: Families were given 500 le for their commitment to stop practicing FGM.
  • Two former practitioners of FGM successfully transitioned off of an economic livelihood based on FGM:
    • Magdi, a former barber and practitioner of FGM, now works as a Tuk Tuk, or autorickshaw, driver.
    • Faiza, a former midwife and practitioner of FGM, now runs her own grocery store.

Eradicating FGM in Gambia

In 2011, Adriana Kaplan shared WISE’s Position paper on FGM with African leaders-Imams and sheikhs, who had gathered for a conference.

  • The leaders were so impressed with the convincing Islamic argument and scholarship, they felt compelled to issue a Fatwa on the spot against the practice of FGM, agreeing also to work toward banning this practice forever.
  • With the Fatwa in one hand and WISE position paper in the other, for seven years Adriana reached out from Sheikh to Sheikh, changing their hearts one at a time. She showed them clearly how the “Quran makes no mention of FGM; and condemns acts that negatively affect the human body and promotes mutual pleasure during marital sex.
  • In 2015, Gambia announced that they were banning the practice, and continued its educational awareness campaign among health practitioners and Sheikhs.
  • In 2018, WISE was present at the U.N.’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM held in Gambia, where Adriana made it clear that our collaboration had enabled her to help eradicate FGM by simply changing hearts and minds. “As you know, the rigorous and pedagogic document on FGM from WISE was disseminated in all my conferences, workshops, classes, etc. and it was this secret weapon of the power of knowledge shared by a women which broke the back of this harmful rituals and eventually resulted in Gambia banning the practice.
    • “At WISE, we are thrilled that Adriana used the secret weapon of the soft power of women to break down harmful ancient rituals, and this trend continues on in African nations like Sudan which outlawed Female Genital Mutilation in 2020
      Daisy Khan

Daisy Khan, the Executive Director of WISE, poses with the Vice President of the Gambia, Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, both holding up a copy of "WISE UP: Knowledge Ends Extremism"

  • The Vice President of the GambiaFatoumata Jallow Tambajangpictured above – thanked the Executive Director of WISE, Daisy Khan  for publishing the FGM position papers, stating that this was the “missing piece of the puzzle” that convinced their Imams to declare FGM as un-Islamic.