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Launch of FGM awareness campaign at UWE Bristol

Category: Industry News, Gender Equality, campaign, complex educational needs, awareness

Launch of FGM awareness campaign at UWE Bristol

Bristol Community Health Advocates held an awareness raised event on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) at UWE Bristol on Friday 15 May 2015.

This event will launch a series of activities over the summer months which together form Bristol's FGM Summer Campaign co-ordinated by the local FGM Delivery and Safeguarding Partnership. This highlights that girls in Bristol may be more at risk of being forced to undergo FGM during the longer school holiday.

The event is organised as part of FORWARD (Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development), a campaigning group committed to gender equality and safeguarding the rights of African girls and women.

It aims to raise awareness of female genital mutilation to the University and wider community by bringing community health advocates, students and women from affected communities together for an informative day of presentations and networking. By increasing awareness, campaigners aim to prevent the practice and provide crucial information on services available in Bristol for those from affected communities.

Health and rights based organisations alongside international campaigners have identified female genital mutilation as a horrific abuse of girls' rights, resulting in poor social, health and psychological outcomes for those affected. In the last three years, UK anti-FGM activists and public health campaigners have firmly placed elimination of FGM on the political and social agenda.

Bristol is at the forefront of campaigning against the practice and professionals from health, social care, police and community groups have been praised by the Home Office for the successful 'Bristol Model', a diverse approach for tackling FGM in Bristol, recognised as the UK's leading model of best practice.

At the launch Professor Jane Harrington (Deputy Vice Chancellor, UWE Bristol) welcomed guests to the University.

Saadye Ali (Bristol Community Health Advocate) gave a short introductory presentation on FGM and the role of community advocates.

Kate Cooke (Public Health, Bristol City Council) presented on work taking place across Bristol to end the practice.

A short movie was shown on the practice of FGM followed by an opportunity for questions and to feedback on the event.

Event organizer, Saadye Ali is a Bristol Community Health Advocate and Msc Public Health Student at UWE Bristol. She said, “Being a nurse and from one of the affected communities, I feel very strongly about this issue and my aim is to empower students and staff as well as provide them with information on what FGM is, what is being done in Bristol and who they can contact. FGM is not a new paradigm and it's time we work together to end it.”

Kate Cooke, Bristol City Council, chairs the FGM Delivery and Safeguarding Partnership in Bristol. She said, “For us all, it's really important that we are bringing together in Bristol, women from affected communities and students from further afield who may also be from affected communities but are less familiar with the 'Bristol Model' and the work we do on FGM.

“We are really excited about UWE Bristol being involved, as this is one of the first partnerships of this kind in the UK and further highlights the 'Bristol Model' of FGM as a model of good practice. There is a lot of scope for good work through this collaboration. Through engaging students and staff from affected communities, engaging students training in health and social care as well as benefitting from the expertise of academic staff for potential academic research, discussion and support, we have a real opportunity to raise further awareness of FGM in the UK.”

Layla Ismail from FORWARD, said, “On behalf of FORWARD Community Health Advocates we are delighted to work with UWE Bristol and highlight the importance of working with FGM affected communities to address the practice of FGM.”

Debra Salmon, Professor of Community Health and Nursing at UWE Bristol, said, “Here at UWE Bristol we are delighted to be hosting this important event. We teach students from a wide range of health and social care professions who will benefit enormously from learning more about FGM and how to work collaboratively with those from affected communities. The UWE Public Health Research Group focuses much of its research on work with disadvantaged communities, influencing policy and practice aimed at reducing inequality and improving access to health and welfare services. The work of Bristol Community Advocates makes an important and significant contribution to PH initiatives focused on FGM, so we are excited about to be part of their summer campaign.”

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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