Promising Practices Program

Administering Organization

Sahiyo

Program Name

Sahiyo

Program Objectives and Unique Needs Addressed

Sahiyo's mission is to empower Dawoodi Bohra and other Asian communities to end female genital cutting and create positive social change through dialogue, education and collaboration based on community involvement. Sahiyo aims to bring an end to female genital cutting, and instead enable a culture in which a woman/girl's body and female sexuality is not feared or suppressed. Sahiyo also aims to recognize and emphasize the values of consent and a child/woman's right over her own body. Sahiyo recognizes the need for more open dialogue within community members and aims to foster an environment of constructive dialogue and collaboration.

Program Description

Sahiyo is a multifaceted organization that offers many resources for addressing and ending FGC. Sahiyo offers dialogue-based solutions for addressing FGC within communities as well as creates legislation to end the practice on legal levels. 

Sahiyo's main platform is through storytelling, wherein survivors or those affected by FGC can submit blog posts or record videos of their unique story. The stories are published on the websites, allowing for a safe space for writers to connect with one another. Sahiyo offers workshops and talks regarding storytelling, media training and social change in an effort to partake in community outreach. 

Sahiyo also holds supportive events such as Thaal Pe Charcha where community members are brought together to discuss issues within the community. Sahiyo conducts evaluations of events to gather data and create reports. Sahiyo conducts extensive and comprehensive studies of the prevalence of FGC in Dawoodi Bohra communities and releases the results of the surveys to build public awareness as well as to encourage legislative action. 

Sahiyo offers a variety of community presentations to educate the community on Female Genital Cutting and its consequences. In addition to presentations, Sahiyo organizes community outreach campaigns like "Each One Reach One" or "I am Bohra". Sahiyo encourages and welcomes volunteers and utilizes the aid and passion of volunteers to continue its work. Sahiyo collects and conducts research to bring more understanding, awareness and advocacy on the topic of FGC within Asian communities.

Resource Materials Used in Program

 A Pinch of Skin Documentary created by Sahiyo co-founder Priya Goswami 

A Resource guide to best practice for sensitive and effective reporting on FGC 

Understanding Female Genital Cutting in the Dawoodi Bohra Community: An Explanatory Survey Brochures and FAQ 

Toolkit for activists to engage in community dialogue 

To see more resources, visit our resources page- https://sahiyo.com/sahiyo-resources/

Groups Served by Program

Sahiyo offers a space for survivors of female genital cutting or those who have been affected by female genital cutting to share their stories and connect in a community of support and empowerment. Sahiyo focuses on engaging women and men within the Dawoodi Bohra community, but also engages other Asian populations affected by FGC.

Program Funding

Sahiyo is funded by a variety of foundations and partner organizations. See our partner's page for more details - https://sahiyo.com/meet-our-partners/

Program Staffing and Required Staff Training

Sahiyo was founded by five co-founders, two part-time staff members and approximately 20 plus volunteers worldwide. Staff and volunteers training a guidebook on Sahiyo mission, goals, philosophy, and a series of webinar on how to advocacy work on FGC.

Program Evaluation

Sahiyo seeks to understand how FGC continues generation after generation as a social norm within the community. To that effort, Sahiyo has partnered with various organizations and researchers to better understand the context in which FGC is continued, the community's response and understanding on FGC, the desire to abandon the practice, etc. Sahiyo has supports the needs of community and survivor activists working on FGC and to that need has conducted research looking at best practices and needs of the activists involved in the work. Lastly, Sahiyo performs evaluations on all of our presentation and outreach efforts within the community. One such outreach effort includes evaluating our Thaal Pe Charcha (TPC) events. At the end of Thaal Pe Charcha event, Sahiyo surveys attendants to gauge their perspectives on FGC and the workshops, and the change in attitude towards the practice and speaking up about the practice over the course of several TPC events.

Program Outcomes

In 2015, Sahiyo undertook a first of its kind study to understand FGC within the global Dawoodi Bohra community. The study, titled Understanding FGC in the Dawoodi Bohra Community reflect the following: -81% of respondents surveyed do not want FGC to continue -Of those who have experienced FGC, 10% were OK or slight OK with the practice being continued and 9% were OK or slightly OK with the practice being done to their daughters -67% indicated that their mothers had made the decision -88% know a family member on whom FGC was performed -80% of Dawoodi Bohra women from a survey of 385 women had been cut -The practice is carried out due to religious purposes (56%), decrease sexual arousal (45%), to maintain traditions and customs (42%) and for physical hygiene or cleanliness (27%) -81% of respondents surveyed do not want FGC to continue In 2017, Sahiyo organized three Thaal Pe Charcha events, which consist of a gathering of Dawoodi Bohra women (and later men) to share a meal and discuss issues affecting their lives, including FGC. The surveys distributed to the attendants after the event were analyzed and reflect the following: -74% of attendants agreed that sharing stories of FGC experiences in their own lives or in the lives of others does help with spreading awareness and accurate information regarding the practice -93% of participants said the TPC event empowered them to discuss FGC -93% of participants said they would like to introduce TPC to a friend, sister or family member -66% of men were aware that FGC existed within the community.

Additional Comments

Program Contact

Mariya Taher
661-496-6976
mariya@sahiyo.com
www.sahiyo.com

Program Dates

The organization was formed in 2015.

Sahiyo operates in the United States and India.