Center of Women’s Health

Counseling and training center to reduce Female Genital Mutilations in the periphery of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

In 2005, Ouagadougou’s Municipality donated a 1,600 sqm site to Voix de Femmes, a local NGO defending Women’s Rights. AIDOS—an Italian NGO fighting for women’s health rights in the global South—brought funding from the European Community and the Italian Democratic party to build a counseling and educational center.

FARE studio designed the Center and supervised the construction works pro-bono. The Center includes training facilities where the local NGO Voix de Femmes raises legal and sexual awareness and provides health screenings and psychological help.

[As a partner of FARE studio architecture firm]

The reduction of Female Genital Mutilations (FGM) in the neighborhood was among the expected outcomes of the Center’s services. FGM is the ritual removal of some external female genitalia. According to UNICEF, 76 percent of women in Burkina Faso aged 15-49 have undergone FGM. The majority of the girls are subjected to FGM before the age of five, with prevalence ranging from 22 percent to 87 percent, depending on ethnicity.

The practice is rooted in gender inequality, attempts to control women’s sexuality and ideas about purity, modesty, and beauty. It is usually initiated and carried out by women who fear that their daughters and granddaughters will suffer social exclusion if they refuse the mutilation. FGM causes long-term severe physical and psychological health consequences, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and reduced sexual desire and satisfaction. Higher neonatal deaths occur among babies born to mothers who have experienced FGM.

Project Architect: Riccardo Vannucci
Project Team: Giuseppina Forte, Joao Sobral, Erika Trabucco with Emanuela Valle
Clients: AIDOS (Associazione Italiana Donne per lo Sviluppo)
Local NGO: Voix des Femmes
Project Management: Clara Caldera, Paola Cirillo, Elena Bonometti, Sophie Sedgho
Site Suervision: Erika Trabucco, Joao Sobral
Financial Promoters: Partito dei Democratici di Sinistra, European Commission


  • 2010 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Finalist project
  • 2010 Zumtobel Award for Humanity in the Built Environment, Special mention
  • 2009 Barbara Cappochin International Biennale Architecture Prize, Honorable Mention
  • 2009 International Architecture Awards, Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, European Center for Architecture and Urban Studies, Winner
  • 2008 World Architecture Festival, Health Category, Winner

Read more

Women’s Health Centre / FARE. Archdaily (2008)

CBF_Centre Pour Le Bien-Être Des Femmes. World Architecture (2008)

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