18 September 2012

28 too Many over the last few months!

 28 Too Many takes off!

April began with us talking to medical personnel in Haringey, for Choices, who run crisis pregnancy advice and wanted their staff to be better prepared regarding FGM.  We also attended further training on DASH (Domestic, Abuse, Stalking, Harassment & Honour Based Violence Risk Assessment) dealing with FMG cases.  As a guest of the Metropolitan Police we attended a London Safeguarding event for uniformed services (scouts, Red Cross etc) on FGM, honour violence, and gang treatment of women – a sobering event.

With donations from New Wine, a trust fund, a grant from the Inspired Individuals Scheme, and a pledged donation, we decided we needed a 28 Too Many bank account & to form a charity!  This is not an easy process, & after learning from lawyers, bankers & the Charity Commission, we are progressing!  We have company registration, a bank account, & hope the rest will follow.  We plan our first Board meeting for the Autumn, & are excited we have initial trustees.  Meanwhile, we have a draft brochure & are reviewing our website communications to be fit for the future.  We now have 12 in our team & expect a few more in September, so are also drawing up job briefs and policies so we can work together smoothly.  Our summer picnic was a chance for some ofour virtual team to meet and get to know each other and their families. 

Supporting the media and joining with others

We are often asked to comment on student academic studies, and for FGM pieces for the media.  Recently published are an article in Woman Alive , one for the YWCA, whilst others, including comments to a daily newspaper on the cutting season, we await to see! 

With daily posts on Facebook& Twitter, and weekly blogs we aim to keep followers updated on the FGM scene.  See our latest blog for the Huffington Post at .  We were also pleased that the Journal of Gender Studies published Ann-Marie’s paper on the parallels between ending footbinding and FGM  -  

To help network effectively, we have joined the UN Global Coalition on Women & Aids, the Gender & Development Network and Women for Development.  Ann-Marie was also delighted to represent the Inspired Individual Cohort of 8 women working in areas against sexual violence (who she met in Durban, South Africain April) at the We Will Speak Out Consortium’s meeting in Geneva in May. This was an extraordinary opportunity to share the anti-FGM work of 28 Too Many with others from the World Council of Churches, Lambeth Palace, YWCA and various US/global charities, whilst learning of their work and building partnerships.

 A base in Africa!

We were very happy to have Kelly, our Ugandain-country researcher visit for a week of meetings with trustees, the team and partners.  Kelly has returned toUganda to help us source a 28 Too Many country representative, before moving ontoKenya later this year, to do the same there, whilst following up any research gaps.


For the team back here, we spent the Spring in various research activities!  To help lobby, we met the Home Office, DfID, attended an Open Space FGM Event and an event at the House of Commons.  This helps influence government policy – as seen in a recent FGM parliamentary debate.  On global issues, we met Action Aid’s partner charity fromWest Africa, discussing anti-FGM strategies, where we also profiled two more countries this Spring and began editing two country profiles.  We also attended the London Faith Based UN Family Planning Summit and made sure it’s links with FGM were in people’s minds.

 The benefits of partnerships

Ann-Marie spoke at a CMS Home Counties Annual Meeting near St Neot’s where she shared on the work of 28 Too Many and FGM to new contacts.  CMS run various excellent trainings and this term Ann-Marie completed a 5 day leadership course as leading a charity with remotely based staff and volunteers is not easy!  The module of the Pioneer Leadership degree offered time to reflect and plan for the future.  Being in an Action Learning Set with 3 others that meets every 3-4 months also helps with support and gives reflective accountability.

 In July we also attended a CMS module on communications, learning about photography, social media & video.  Increasingly we need to be able to produce podcasts and turnaround professional summaries of our field work – so hopefully you may see improvements in future website coverage!  This 24 hours back at All Nations College gave us time to meet CMSs trustees, sharing what it’s like at the grassroots end of pioneering work across Africa in 2012!

 As our first year linked with Restored comes to a close, its appraisal time(!) with their Chair which gives Ann-Marie time to reflect on the amazing journey of the last 12 months.  Restored is based in Tearfund’s Teddington offices, so we visit monthly for a Team Day of catching up; providing mentoring; team lunch and supervision.  This quarter, we also attended their Planning Day and input to creating a Model of Change for their anti-domestic abuse work.

Working with Worldwide Change Agents

Spring brought an interesting opportunity to input to a day run by Stewardship.  It was good to be able to give back to potential workers exploring their next steps.  Ann-Marie shared the input with Oscar for whom she has written a couple of articles on short term working and selecting a host organisation.

Our work on the Bishop of London’s Global Development Group progresses well as we plan our input to the next Capital 2020 vision.  Having featured in the 2010 one, on Millennium Development Goal 3 -  – it’s good to see what impact we can made for the next season!  At the last meeting, we had an exciting visit from 10 Euro MPs from the Christian Democratic Party in Germany – and Ann-Marie got to practice her rusty German, although being amazed she could understand what they said without translation headphones!  We shared about aid policy and influencing government – something we are learning gradually!

Summer saw graduation day from the Fresh Expressions course Ann-Marie has helped steer this last year at Guy Chester Centre, whilst consolidating her learning, and benefiting in learning more about pioneering.

 We were pleased to address our second Mother’s Union gathering, at the London Diocesan Day.  After a 2 hour talk on FGM and the work of 28 Too Many, we all sat down for sandwich lunch and some unusual dialogue!  We and look forward to seeing their FGM magazine article. 

 Upcoming events

13th 28 Too Many Strategy Day
17th FGM Talk atWhittingtonHospital
18th Meeting at Anglican Communion
19th Talk at Seniors Club
22nd & 27th Teaching, Guy Chester Centre
24th FGM Talk to Fawcett Society
4th Talk to Women’s Group
5th Restored Team Away Day Facilitation
6th – 7th Visit/Talks to St Mark’s Church,Cardiff
17th Alumni Coaching Day, Guy Chester Centre
19th FGM Talk to YWAM Harpenden,CommunityDevelopmentSchool.

 Special fundraising appeal!

Ann-Marie has stopped all paid work and needs to raise £399 per month personal support by March 2013, so that the recent large donations and all future giving can go to funding 28 Too Many.

 Please consider a £4 monthly donation – she only needs 100 people to commit to this!  Please email us to let us know if you can help at info@28toomany.org.