21 December 2010

Child marriage or something more sinister? How can we say 'No' to the terrible issues happening around us?

One of my recent roles at FORWARD has been to help promote a film screening of Moolaade, a film set in Burkina Faso where four girls fled to escape FGM. Ousmane Sembene’s powerful film challenges gender inequality, domestic violence, forced marriage and FGM. So how do we not become sensitised to these terrible ordeals

7 December 2010

What place do special events have in highlighting disease and trauma?

80 landmarks, including the London Eye, Empire State Building, Table Mountain and Sydney's Opera House turned red on 1st December to mark World Aids Day. 2010 focussed on ending mother-to-child transmission by 2015 - as 200,000 infected children will die by age two. With December being a month of special seasonal events, do they change hearts and mind to make a difference?

30 November 2010

How can international lobbying the UN have a place in tackling tough issues?

I recently had a meeting at FORWARD with UNIFEM, the UN's women's issues department. In the UK, they spend time leading school assemblies and education awareness days to help combat FGM in the UK. With a month of internatinal travel myself, I consdered how can lobbying internatinoally raise awareness of key issues?

23 November 2010

Beauty and poverty - How can art make these topics palatable?

When I was invited to view the Methodist Church's collection of modern Christian Art - billed as the 'greatest collection outside the Vatican' - I could hardly refuse! In the same month, I went to a packed evening of digital art and photography - 'Woman - Who's Canvas?' - in Brick Lane hosted by FORWARD. These got me thinking about how art and theatre can change minds on issues such as diversity, beauty and poverty.

19 October 2010

Have history and geography set the scene for the cutting culture?

After 5 years of studying anthropology, gender, development and Islamics, I still feel I'm only just beginning to understand how all of these aspects go into the melting pot of tradition. Girls are expected to have FGM to preserve their chastity and family honour - but why?

5 October 2010

FGM: sadly happening in a neighbourhood near you

Positively, there's been a recent flurry of media coverage for this human rights violation - giving a voice for the 7000 girls at risk and 66,000 who have had FGM in the UK. Let's learn from their plight and end FGM now

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