As we leave 2013 and head into 2014 full of excitement and enthusiasm for the challenges ahead, Ann-Marie takes a look back at our work over the last few months and the many achievements in the campaign to end FGM.
Helping to end FGM across 8 countries
As we reflect on the last three extraordinary months, we have been involved in working in six countries as well as attending two conferences in Asia and travelling across the UK – all in the name of ending FGM! The summer saw us commission our first consultant research in Tanzania to complement our secondary research, and the FGM report we did for Tearfund earlier this year, in preparation for our Country Profile which was publsihed in December. It’s exciting to hear 25 Bishops and 75 Leaders are now committed to engage in ending FGM.
One of our researchers spent the summer in Sudan beginning research for a later Country Profile, whilst a couple living long term in Mali moved back there after relocating to Senegal earlier in the year. One of our team left for a year in Senegal, and we have connected with a journalist in Egypt. These help us gain up to the minute local information on FGM.
We have spent the last 18 months researching FGM in Ethiopia, where it has been practised by Christians, Muslims and Jewish people. Our latest Ethiopia Country Profile was published in October and coincided with our article in RCOG International News on Africa/Ethiopia.
We have started sharing our Reports on Kenya and Uganda, and are pleased to have had an article published on FGM in Kenya’s Destination Magazine. We are preparing for trips to East Africa in February 2014, to take this work to the next stage.
Another exciting step was for 28 Too Many to be represented at two key international conferences in Asia. Anitra Lockwood from the Women’s Institute in Ottery St Mary, presented a resolution to end FGM at the Association of Country Women of the World at their triennial conference in Chennai, India. The resolution was unanimously passed – another step of progress ending FGM. Veena O’Sullivan represented us at a Sexual Violence Research Initiative Conference in Thailand, speaking to Ann-Marie’s fourth research paper. This involved producing an A0 poster and getting it to Bangkok – quite a logistical feat that some of you will have followed on Facebook and Twitter, involving an hour long chat with UPS Thailand!
The summer festival season
Nearer home, we presented on FGM to the UK Regional Conference of Soroptimist International in Birmingham at the beginning of the summer. We also spoke on New Wine Radio for the third year running and supported Restored and CMS on their stands at New Wine and Greenbelt, where we spoke at their ‘Kitchen’ event, clocking up the miles as we travelled through Dorset, Somerset and Gloucestershire. Heading North, we were the after-dinner speaker at a CMS Harrogate Dinner to some 90 guests, before heading down the M1 the next day to speak to CMS Sheffield’s Conference.
As 28 Too Many celebrated the first year of our Board of Trustees, we sadly said goodbye to a founder trustee who retired, and recruited two more to join us from September. We finalised our first set of Accounts, held our first AGM and are now planning an Annual Report…watch this space!
As we have close partnerships with CMS, Restored, Inspired Individuals Scheme and St Barnabas Church, September became the month of accountability, reporting and appraisals – a time to reflect on the year’s successes and learn for the future. We spent a day in Oxford looking at budgets and sharing plans and ideas. We also have close partnerships with Tearfund and the We Will Speak Out global alliance, and met with the Steering Group at Lambeth Palace to share on networking and how we can collaborate .
We also have growing partnership relationships with DfID, Action Aid, Save the Children, Coventry University and other agencies like UNICEF and UNJP. Through these relationships we can help each other as we work in different ways to contribute to ending FGM.
The summer holidays
August gave us a few weeks to rest and refresh. During this, Belinda and I managed a very acceptable performance in the extreme Mudder Wolf Run. This 10k run, combined with the one Angela and I did in July, have raised £2500 for 28 Too Many, so thank you so much to all.
Towards the end of the Year
As Christmas approached, we launched our country profile on FGM in Tanzania and a new resource on Harmful Traditional Practices that we contributed to as part of the Gender and Development Network. We had a busy time campaigning during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (25th November to 10th December) and briefed Peers for a debate on FGM in the House of Lords which took place on 4th December.
Do bear us in mind over the next 3 months as we are involved in some key events:
If you can please make a donation to help support our work 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for details. You can also support us by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.
Thank you for your continued support.