According to the WHO, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is still a common practice in 30 countries, mainly in Africa. There are no health benefits to FGM and it is seen as violation of human rights.
The harmful experience of FGM not only leaves a permanent scar on a female’s body throughout their lifetime, but also leaves an emotional scar from within.
Young people can make a change in their community by spreading awareness of FGM and supporting women who are victims of FGM.
This is where the Young People Speak Out (YSPO) programme comes in. YSPO is a programme led by FORWARD, a not for profit organisation run by African women working towards safeguarding the rights of young girls and women.
The YSPO programme is targeted towards people aged between 16-25. Its mission is to raise awareness about the practice and impact of FGM in the UK. As well as providing them with skills and training, the programme also organises various projects, events and workshop to inform communities about FGM. Many of these projects give young people the opportunity to express their creativity and to develop skills such as teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills.
What is involved?
- Skill building workshop and leadership session
- Outreach and emotional support to women who are affected by or at risk of FGM
- Research young people’s experience, knowledge and attitude toward FGM
- Music events, photography exhibition and film screenings for the public
- Youth empowerment and campaigning projects in schools colleges and universities
There are other ways in which people can get involved in both the YSPO programme and in FORWARD. FORWARD provide Professional FGM training courses to equip anyone with the knowledge and skills to respond to FGM. The organisation also offers internship programmes for those who are committed to championing women’s rights.
For those who are professionals in healthcare and might be interested in the hands-on training, FORWARD will be hosting a training event on the 25th May 2017. The event is aimed towards improving people’s knowledge and response to FGM.