I recently attended the First Pan-African Youth #EndFGM Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. I was one of five women with FORWARD UK to represent the youth of the UK’s African diaspora community to discuss ideas, best practices and advocacy efforts towards ending FGM.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a procedure that involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is a form of violence against women and girls and a violation of human rights. Globally it is estimated that three million girls are at risk of undergoing FGM and although the practice has been illegal in the UK for over three decades, 60,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK.
The United Nations has passed a resolution calling for a global ban on the practice and here are a few ways that you can get involved and support the movement to #ENDFGM in a generation…
Raise awareness online:
Using your social media platforms to raise awareness of harmful practices such as FGM, is an effective way to start the conversation and show support for issues, galvanise people and advocate for change. Social media is a great resource, which allows for knowledge and information sharing on the risk and realities of FGM and how it affects the lives of young girls. There are a number of organisations that have resources that you can read to familiarise with the issue of FGM and ways you can get involved, such as; Orchid Project, Plan International, Equality Now and FORWARD UK.
If you are involved in a youth group, a civil society organisation or you are just an activist passionate about gender-based violence, you could host an event to educate girls on their rights to their body. Educating girls gives them the necessary tools to be confident and empowered to use their voice and speak up when their rights are being violated.
Pay attention to what is happening in your community, neighbourhood and school. If you think someone in your community or school might be at risk of FGM, click here for advice on how to support them.
Support local organisations:
There are a number of organisations in the UK that already work on eliminating harmful practices and protecting vulnerable girls. Getting involved with organisations like FORWARD UK and Plan International is a great way to improve your knowledge on the issue.
Some examples of ways to get involved are:
- Attend training on how to speak about FGM in culturally sensitive ways.
- Volunteer with FORWARD UK, PLAN UK, Daughters of Eve or Orchid Project
- Sign up to FORWARD UK‘s weekly newsletter for updates on policy changes and actions to take
- Fundraise for or donate to organisations that support ending FGM
Grace volunteered with Tearfund on International Citizen Service (ICS) in Bolivia.
For further reading:
Find out how Natalie is ending FGM in her community in Kenya.