Looking Back: Sahiyo at CSW/MALA’s March 2019 Event

On  March 18th 2019, the Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA) hosted a parallel event on “Addressing FGM in the USA: Safeguarding Survivors and Protecting Victims at the UN Commission on the Status of Women 63rd Session in New York. The panel took place at the UN Church Center. The panel convened survivors, policy makers, non-profit leaders, and community organizers to facilitate the dialogue on what necessary steps are needed to ensure ‘zero tolerance’ towards FGM for both survivors and at-risk women and girls.46892036214_50c0aab75b_o (1)47563340402_20809d8ac6_o

Speakers included: 

  • Mariya Taher, Sahiyo Cofounder 
  • Mary Franson, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • Andrea G. Bottner, J.D., Senior Advisor- Independent Women’s Forum
  • Asad Zaman, M.D
  • Zehra Patwa, WeSpeakOut Co-Founder and Sahiyo Vice-Chair of the U.S. Advisory Board

This panel analyzed the practice of FGC in the United States through a medical, psychological, and legislative lens. The panelists collectively suggested a variety of approaches to bringing communities together to gain knowledge and organize.  

The event was incredibly popular, with the room at full capacity and more guests listening from the hall.    

46892037794_a47e5323f8_oThese types of events are essential towards our progress in creating a world without FGC. 

Sahiyo launches special toolkit to help the media report sensitively on Female Genital Cutting

On the eve of International Zero Tolerance Day for Female Genital Cutting 2017, Sahiyo is proud to launch its first media toolkit developed to promote sensitive and effective depiction of Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation (FGC/M) with special reference to Khatna in the Dawoodi Bohra community.

This toolkit will be available as an open-source, freely downloadable and distributable content for journalists, writers, bloggers, filmmakers, designers and other organisations who want to understand how to effectively and sensitively talk about the practice of Khatna.


FGC/M is a complex subject involving many socio-cultural factors.


The guidelines and examples in the toolkit  are intended to ensure that all media actors reporting on FGC/M are aware of these factors and are able to prioritize the ethical considerations that preserve the safety, confidentiality, and dignity of survivors, their families, their communities, and those who are trying to help them such as NGOs like Sahiyo.

This document is divided into four broad sections:

  • An introduction to Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation ‘Khatna’ as a social norm and the role of key terminologies
  • ‘Khatna’ as a social norm and the role of key terminologies
  • The impact of visuals in influencing the readers and
  • best practices for effective reporting.

We have elaborated on a nuanced use of terminology, visuals and reportage, illustrating best practices and ways for media to impact the movement on the practice effectively.


Through this toolkit, our objective is to offer an insider’s perspective on reporting and writing, to guide the media on how to create awareness in a sensitive manner that promotes social change about ‘Khatna’ or ‘Female Genital Cutting’ prevalent in the Dawoodi Bohra community in India and its diaspora worldwide.

This resource guide acknowledges the role of the media and organizations working to shed light on FGC/M .

We hope that this toolkit helps the media (or anyone interested in depicting the issue) in avoiding factual errors, sensationalized visuals, judgemental language and unintentional vilification of the community; to further be a stronger and effective partner in furthering a landmark movement to end Khatna among Bohras.