Postboks 8948, Youngstorget, 0028 Oslo


Pan African Women`s Association

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Pawa`s Efforts in eliminating FGM

Female Genital Mutilation has been reported to occur in all parts of the world, but it is most prevalent in the western, eastern, and north eastern regions of Africa, where the majority of our Pan African members are originally from.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) has no known health benefits. On the contrary it is known to be harmful to girls and women in many ways. First and foremost it is painful and traumatic. The removal of or damage to healthy, normal genital tissue interferes with the natural functioning of the body and causes several immediate and long term health consequences.

Communities that practice FGM report a variety of social and religious reasons for continuing with it. Seen from a human rights perspective, the practice reflects deep rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. Female genital mutilation is nearly always carried out on minors and is therefore a violation of the rights of the child. The practice also violates the rights to health, security and physical integrity of the person, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

Decades of prevention work undertaken by local communities, governments and national and international organizations have contributed to a reduction in the prevalence of female genital mutilation in some areas but this is a practice that still in 2009 affects members of our organization. Members of Pawa`s organization Musu Kambeng Kaffo and other affected members work and focus on the elimination of FGM within their respective communities but this battle continues as three million girls are estimated to be at risk of undergoing the procedure every year.

Pan African Women’s Association in joining the global battle against FGM hopes to secure the well being of its members, women and children at large.



Many African women have expressed to Pawa the lack of social and support networks they need to meet their everyday demands. Their challenges range from loneliness, to being a single woman, bringing up children in a foreign land, family conflicts, violence within the home, divorce or lack of awareness of public services ,how to access these services within the Norwegian society and the possibilities found in Norway. These challenges lead to mental health conditions and point to signs that the majority never seek help.

The aim is to contribute to healthy mental health attitudes within African women by developing Pawa to a well functioning and strong resource network that can identify the challenges of the women and contribute to the prevention and the improvement of the mental health of women, at the same time encourage them to come in contact with and put into use their inner strengths and resources in a positive way.

Violence against women and children

Women`s Day hosted by the South African Embassy in Norway on the 15th August 2009.

“Together empowering women for development and gender equality”

Pan African Women`s Association was represented by Nene Bojang the project leader , with the following contributions:

Pan African Womens Association in Norway

Pawas Resource Group

Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen and My Pawa Sisters in the audience.

As the ambassador has rightly mentioned in her speech, the empowerment of women and Gender equality cannot be achieved without the well being of Women.

But the struggle for empowerment is not only on the continent of Africa we as Pan African Women are still fighting that battle here in Norway.

I am therefore going to use my 5 minutes to discuss The Pan African Womens Resource Group Project that got funding From Health and Rehabilitation.

Pan African Womens Association (Pawa) Is an Arena Where Pan African Women can:

Have room to recognize the depth of their pain and hurt and collectively come together to find and share ways to heal themselves

Get in touch with factors in our lives that are causing particular pain especially those factors in our daily lives that undermine our capacity to be self- determining

Pan African female self recovery is an expression of a liberatory Political Practice

Choosing wellness is an act of political Resistance and we Pan African women need to undergo a process of self- recovery that can heal individual wounds that may prevent us from functioning fully

Pan African women in Norway believe that the realm of mental health that of psychic well-being is an important arena for the liberation of black women.

Traditional therapy, mainstream psychoanalytical practice, often does not consider race as an important issue, and as a result do not adequately address the mental health dilemmas of black people. Yet these dilemmas are very real .They persist in our daily lives and undermine our capacity to live fully and joyously.

It is important that Pan African Women talk to one another, that we talk to friends and allies for the telling of our stories enables us to name our suffering and to seek healing.

The roots of mental illness is invariably an interlocking system of lies that we have been told and lies we have told ourselves. Commitments to truth telling are the first step in any process of self recovery. It is therefore very important that black females who have been victimized by traumatic events like incest, rape FGM etc. speak openly about their experiences.

Mental health


In Africa, women are generally known to be strong, self-employed and often even the sole breadwinner. They have primary responsibility when it comes to cover the daily needs, caring for the family and child-rearing, and are the first to stand up and the last ones to bed. They also participate actively in important social processes, as both family and social network, represents their economical and psychological safety net. In Norway, the same women often feel helpless because their role is quite different and less significant than in their home country.

Coming to Norway represents a major transition from a close family ties and an independent and active social life in the home country to an individualistic society and a very limited social network. Besides, unemployment is a big problem for many African women in Norway. Many cannot use their knowledge and resources on the Norwegian labor market. It is well known that social network is an important tool when it comes to obtaining employment. African women do not have such network in Norway. All this may create passivity, helplessness, low self-esteem and anxiety; and it affects their quality of life and their physical and mental health.

PAWA and Mental Health

Many African women have expressed to PAWA that they struggle with great mental stress as they lack a social network to rely on in relation to the challenges they face in their everyday lives. Challenges such as loneliness, being a single parent, raising children in a foreign country, family conflicts, domestic violence, divorce, or how to navigate in the Norwegian society and utilize the opportunities that exist in Norway. 

Therefore, PAWA felt that there is a great need to establish resource network where women can participate and exchange knowledge and experiences.

Copyright @ All Rights Reserved