19 September 2016

Update from 28 Too Many Executive Director Ann-Marie Wilson - September 2016

We have had an incredibly busy few months delivering training sessions to key audiences across the UK, advocacy work with governments, working together with Project Literacy and continuing our partnership with Cricket without Boundaries.  In addition, we launched our first thematic report on FGM and Medicalisation and our research for our country profiles has been steaming ahead at full speed.  

First ever report on the Medicalisation of FGM 

In June, we completed our first thematic report on The Medicalisation of FGM which was well received and led to Hoda Ali being featured in The Guardian and the The Hippocratic Post and my interview with Premier Radio.  The report was distributed widely and has been acknowledged as a timely and relevant contribution to the debate on the dangers of the medicalisation of FGM.

Researching FGM across Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt 

We have completed our largest and most complex country report so far, our 11th,  on Nigeria, which we will launch to coincide with the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ on 11 October.  Meanwhile we have commenced the process of updating our first Kenya report, which included our Africa co-ordinator Esther visiting Dr Linah Jebii Kilimo, chair of the Kenya anti-FGM board and we have started work on our 12th report, which will be on Egypt, a key country in terms of FGM which has featured heavily in recent news reports. 

Cricket without Boundaries (CWB)

Our partnership with CWB has continued successfully with Esther rejoining the team in Laikipia to train others and evaluate progress so far. We were encouraged to note that the FGM message was well remembered by the students in all the schools that were visited in the previous year. Some schools have started using school protection orders for girls who are reported as being at risk of FGM. This is supported by providing the girls with boarding facilities although these are basic and the schools are stretched in their ability to provide these facilities. As a result of the project last year, more girls have been reported to local authorities such as the police and One More Day (the rescue centre) to seek help. 

This year 880 students were trained in just the first two days at four schools and another five schools were trained in the remaining five days and 15 girls at Daraja Academy were trained to be trainers on anti-FGM to their peers. Have a read of Esther's blog and the CWB website for more details.

Project Literacy: F is for FGM

28 Too Many was pleased to become a partner to a major global project, ‘Project Literacy’, with us representing the letter “F is for FGM” in their alphabet campaign to highlight illiteracy across the world. We were part of the launch of the “Alphabet of Illiteracy” at a special event at the Houses of Parliament on February 28 with Lily Cole, Global Literacy ambassador, where the campaign was launched to global media, influencers and law makers and MPs inside and outside the House of Commons.  

Since then we have worked together with the project organisers (Pearson Publishing and FCB Inferno) and the other Project Literacy partners and took an active role on International Literacy Day on 8 September with a blog and a feature on 28 Too Many on the Project Literacy website.

Advocacy in the UK 

Our team was pleased to attend various FGM stakeholder meetings including meeting with Sarah Champion and Jeremy Corbyn to discuss Labour Party policy. We also followed up on asking for a UK national action plan on FGM by speaking at a Home Office roundtable at Portcullis House, and we were pleased to see that our comments and many of our recommendations were included in a report, ‘Female genital mutilation: abuse unchecked`, which was published on 15 September.  The report condemns the ‘failure to tackle the ‘national scandal’ of FGM’ in the UK and highlights the need to improve FGM prevention work to prevent FGM in the UK.

Sharing the message of FGM across the faith communities 

I have been very busy sharing our work with various faith and community groups and I was honoured to represent 28 Too Many at the 140th anniversary of the Mother’s Union at St Paul’s Cathedral.  I am also pleased to announce that we have been adopted by St John’s Parish Church, Chipping Barnet, as a link church, and I have already spoken to them about 28 Too Many and our work to end FGM and look forward to many more opportunities over the coming months.

With our Nigeria report launch coming up and our Kenya update due before the end of the year, as well as several events and projects lined up, we have an even busier time ahead.  Thank you to everyone who helps make our work possible and if you can, please make a donation to help us continue in our efforts to end FGM. A small monthly donation would make a huge difference to us so please consider setting up a standing order. There are many other ways to give and please email donate@28toomany.org for details. You can also support us by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.