Menna El Shiati, Advisor - Gender and FGM, Community Systems Foundation
UN officers from Djibouti, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen are aiming to do more with data to combat Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). UNFPA’s Arab States Regional Office (ASRO) and UNICEF’s Middle East and Northern Africa Regional Office (MENARO), collaborated closely with Community Systems Foundation, to conduct a Regional Training on the Use of Data for Analysis & Evidence-based Planning and Advocacy on FGM. The regional training was conducted in Cairo, Egypt, where five programme countries, covered by the Joint Programme in the region, were in attendance. These five countries have some of the highest prevalence rates  of FGM in the world.
While advocacy initiatives, such as the Sudan Tuti initiative, have significantly reduced FGM in the region, limited capacity within national and regional statistical systems have prevented local and regional organizations from operating efficiently and effectively in applying data to decision-making and action. The Regional Training took aim at applying data. “The workshop has helped me identify the story in the data and generate graphics, applying them to storytelling” Pilirani Semu-Banda, UNFPA Somalia, has noted. Without reliable data collection and lack of capacity in utilizing existing data in the region, advocates and policymakers are unable to use and disseminate FGM data, to further Phase III goals of the Joint Programme on FGM.
In an effort to support the improvement of national programmes, policies and reporting, Community Systems Foundation trainers supported focal points in programme countries in understanding how to source, assess and utilize additional data, to supplement the national monitoring framework, to support planning processes and to strengthen communication and advocacy at the country level. 28 UNFPA and UNICEF officers participated in the training. They held positions of Gender/FGM, Monitoring and Evaluation, Youth and Communications.
A UNFPA staffer noted that this type of capacity building - on use of data - is needed amongst national partners.
CSF provides technical assistance and capacity building to strengthen the use of data for decision support. CSF also supports the Joint Programme with tools to monitor the implementation of national, regional and global strategic plans.
 Division of Data, Research and Policy, Data and Analytics Section. “Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Country Profiles.” UNICEF DATA, 24 July 2018, data.unicef.org/resources/female-genital-mutilation-cutting-country-profiles/