COLLABORATION AND NETWORKING
Hawa Trust has collaborated with various FGM and other related organisations to promote awareness and support the victims. We have worked with the NSPCCA to establish a helpline in June 2013. Hawa Trust was part of that consultation and worked with the NSPCC to set up the helpline. We also regularly work with FORWARD, ROSA, Equality Now, Daughters of Eve.
FGM has caused severe damage and trauma to young lives, yet it remains a taboo and a misunderstood subject. It is against this background that Hawa Trust recently organized a public awareness-raising event to provide deeper understanding on FGM and support young women who are vulnerable to FGM. It took place on Friday 6th December 2013. The Keynote Address was delivered by Dr Comfort Momoh, MBE (FGM/Public Health Specialist; FGM National Coordinator, African Well Women’s Clinic, Guy’s & St. Thomas’s Hospital). A statement was also made by Ms Debbie Ariyo, OBE, Founder/Executive Director, AFRUCA – Africans United Against Child Abuse.
Dr. Momoh’s PowerPoint presentation was a shock to the women attendees as they did not realize that FGM had terrible physical and psychological effects. Some of the women attending reported that they were experiencing forms of trauma and were invited to attend the African Well Women’s Clinic at Guy’s & St. Thomas’s Hospital. This was the first event of its kind in Hackney. This is a significant milestone for Hawa Trust and for the communities we are working with.
In December 2012 we celebrated World AIDS Day in Hackney. This event was well attended and from there we received many requests for support on FGM.
I have conducted two interviews with TV channels. On 24th June 2013, I appeared on Channel 4 News. Journalists visited me at home and recorded the interview. This is published on their website, entitled: ‘First FGM helpline to protect UK women and girls’; see the Channel 4 interview.
In addition, I have also appeared on Sky News to discuss the risks and strategies for addressing FGM.
In September 2013 I was interviewed by the Hackney Gazette, as a survivor of FGM. The article was published on the 26 September 2013, on page 7.
On the 6th December 2013 Hawa Trust organized the first ever FGM awareness raising event in Hackney. This was reported in the Hackney Gazette on Thursday 12 December 2013, page 5, entitled ‘Hundreds of girls in danger of disfigurement, warns charity’.
We continue to engage with MPs, councillors and local leaders in order to encourage a strong stand against FGM locally, nationally and international.
We have a budding youth group that provides peer support for women and girls.