On March 29th, Sahiyo’s Development Assistant Sarrah Hussain and Programs Intern Catherine Cox were invited to speak at a panel discussion on female genital mutilation/ cutting (FGM/C).
Hosted in partnership with the UNICEF Unite Club at Drexel University, this panel featured three other speakers: Mark Woodland, M.D., activist Cecirahim Sesay, and activist Nera Fernando. Dr. Woodland is a professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Drexel University College of Medicine. He serves on several committees and advisory groups at the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership. Fernando is a student at Drexel University from Sri Lanka who offered her insight from a social perspective, exploring the underlying causes of FGM/C, and what it is like living in a community where FGM/C is the norm. Finally, Sesay is also a student at Drexel University and a health-equity activist who offered her personal insight into the underlying causes of the FGM/C and community norms.
Combined, this panel of amazing speakers explored the health consequences of FGM/C, living in practicing communities, and how people can become better activists and allies in empowering communities to end the practice.
Dr. Woodland explained the medical effects of FGM/C and its global prevalence. Next, Sesay and Fernando used their personal stories to explore the social norms that underpin the practice. Finally, Hussain and Cox from Sahiyo explored Sahiyo’s work and activism in the past, giving the audience a framework for their own activism. They highlighted the concrete steps everyone can take in their day-to-day lives to become better advocates in ending FGM/C. Panelists took audience questions that ranged from the history of law in the United States around the issue, the role that culture plays, and how the people in the audience can take concrete steps toward activism.
Overall, the panel was an eye-opening exploration of the many issues and concepts surrounding FGM/C and the movement to abandon the practice.
If you are interested in having a member of Sahiyo speak at an event at your institution, please email our team: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also fill out our request for an outreach presentation form at https://sahiyo.com/community-outreach/.