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Female Genital Mutilation – a matter of human rights and gender equality

The 8th biannual FOKO Conference and network meeting

13th and 14th October 2016, Helsinki, Finland

We would like to thank all our guests for a very successful conference! You can still follow or participate in the virtual discussion via the hashtag #FGMhelsinki. You can see the conference pictures below or on our Facebook-site.

What is the FOKO conference?

The FOKO (Forskning om kvinnlig omskärelse) network was established in 2001 to strengthen the cooperation between Nordic researchers of female genital mutilation and cutting. Over the years, the network has expanded to include other partners operating within the field of female genital mutilation (FGM). Every other year, a conference on FGM and a network meeting with presentations is organized in one of the Nordic countries.

In October 2016 the conference and the meeting took place in Helsinki, Finland and formed a part of the programme for the Finnish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers 2016. The conference was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the City of Helsinki and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

The conference focused on FGM especially from the point of view of human rights and gender equality. The conference was open for anyone interested in the topic and its aim was to bring together and create dialogue between researchers, professionals, authorities, civil society organizations and politicians as well as men and women from migrant communities and diaspora with roots in countries where FGM is a very common practice.

The conference offered the participants outstanding opportunities to listen to distinguished international keynote speakers, expand their professional network, and participate in current discussions regarding FGM.

The Minister of Social Affairs and Health of Finland, Pirkko Mattila, gave an opening speech at the conference.


Keynote speakers

Dr. Abdiqani Sheikh Omar

Director General

Ministry of Women & Human Rights Development, Somalia

Somalia’s Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development is committed to taking measures against FGM with the help of legislation and anti-FGM campaigns.

Dr. Adriana Kaplan

Professor of Medical Anthropology, Executive Director of the Wassu-UAB Foundation

Universitat Autònoma UAB, Barcelona, Spain

Professor Kaplan is an internationally recognized researcher leading a project with two research stations in Gambia and Spain, developing an innovative and sustainable methodology to combat FGM.

Commentary Speech

Dr. Helena Ranta

Professor, University of Helsinki

Professor Ranta is a Finnish forensic dentist. She became well known as a result of her contribution to several international forensic investigations of conflict situations such as Kosovo. Lately she has worked in Eritrea on the issues of FGM. 


Poetry by Farah Gabdon

Farah Gabdon is a London based writer, performance poet and English teacher. Originally from Somalia, she holds an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing and has performed across London. Her first collection of poetry, ’Breathing Just a Little’, is due to be released at the end of this year.


Click here for an updated program.

FOKO network meeting

On the 14th of October 2016, we held a meeting for Nordic researchers of FGM with presentations from various researchers and other experts. The meeting was an excellent opportunity to interact and create connections with Nordic researchers as well as to get acquainted with current research projects. Click here for the program.

Event in Facebook

Join and share the event in Facebook!

Contact information

If you have any questions regarding the FOKO conference and/or the meeting, do not hesitate to contact us!

Johanna Latvala

Project Manager


+358 44 706 1447

Eerika Salminen

Conference Assistant


+358 44 740 4932

 nordenSTM_logo_enLogo_mfa_eng_tn HK_Eng_RGB_png Supported by Ministry of Social Affairs and Health with Proceeds from Veikkaus