On July 17th, Sahiyo’s Development Assistant Sarrah Hussain and Programs Coordinator Catherine Cox spoke at a panel discussion on female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) hosted by the Future Shakers Initiative (FSI). This event, The Pre-summit of #EndFGM Global Conference, was the prelude to the conference. The summit was an online webinar convening international speakers and advocates to share ideas and prepare for the in-person conference.
As part of The Pre-summit of the #EndFGM Global Conference, Hussain and Cox were joined by Dr. Ibidapo Fashina, Abayomi Sarumi, and Damilola Amoo, moderated by FSI founder, Tobi Olanipekun. During the two-session event, this group of activists and change-makers convened over Google Meet to discuss their roles in challenging FGM/C, and how to build global bridges to advocate for the end of the practice. This inspirational panel of speakers explored the health consequences of FGM/C; the justifications and social norms underpinning the practice; and how we all can become better activists in empowering our communities to end the practice.
During the event, the speakers had the opportunity to answer critical questions such as, “What human rights does FGM/C violate?” and “How can young people challenge FGM/C?” Our team highlighted how FGM/C is practiced on young girls without consent and is a violation of the rights of girls. FGM/C also violates a person’s rights to health, security, and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, and the right to life, as this practice can result in death. We additionally stressed Sahiyo’s belief in the power that storytelling can create change, spark healing, and inspire individuals and communities to advocate for the abandonment of FGM/C. We believe that highlighting and amplifying the voices of survivors can be a powerful way to challenge FGM/C, the norms of silence and shame that often keep women from speaking out, and to give space for survivors to heal.
During the question and answer session at the end of the event, one guest asked how modern technologies are being utilized to help end FGM/C. Sahiyo speakers highlighted the initiative, Mumkin, an app that was created by Sahiyo’s co-founders Priya Goswami and Aarefa Johari. This is an app that uses artificial intelligence to help activists practice having difficult conversations around FGM/C. We encourage all of our allies to download this app in order to help them practice having critical conversations around FGM/C.
The Pre-summit of the #EndFGM Global Conference was an eye-opening exploration of the many issues and concepts surrounding FGM/C, as well as the need for global connections and idea-sharing to foster a global community dedicated to ending FGM/C and all forms of violence against women and girls. The #EndFGM Global Conference will be taking place in-person in Nigeria later this year.
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/.