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PEACEMAKER INTERNATIONAL’S WORKSHOPS AT THE SAFEGUARDING WEEK 2017


Peacemaker International organised two workshops as part of this year’s Safeguarding Week in Bradford. The purpose was to safeguard our girls.

Target audience: professionals working with women and children and people from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) practising communities.


The event took place during 2017 safeguarding week in Bradford, West Yorkshire. The focus was to discuss what works and what could be done better on FGM by service providers and the community. The outcome of the workshop showed the calibre of professionals who attended. They were competent and made valuable contributions, based on what has been working for them, that should be shared by other people.

The workshop was coordinated by Yemi Fagborun [CEO of Peacemaker International and Women In Safe Hands (WISH)] who told workshop participants the extent of FGM, her personal experience, that of her clients, geographical spread and how it is believed to have started and why. She talked about what Peacemaker International has done and achieved along with their partners in Bradford and beyond.


The awareness raising should not be limited to the practising communities alone.

Another thing Yemi told the participants was that her charity has started to involve young people and men, especially partners of FGM survivors in the FGM crusade. ‘Because they are part of our society, they have a role to play and we must carry them along to achieve our goals’.

We are very lucky in Bradford to have Councillor Joanne Dodds as our champion who helped table a motion to declare Bradford Zero Tolerance for FGM. The decoration was signed on 6th February 2017 at the City Hall. Participants at the workshops had the opportunity to see the pledge sheets.

Participants watched two clips from Peacemaker International FGM illustrations. The videos were produced by young people from NCS (National Citizen Service) who dramatised the issue of FGM. Many people liked it most in their feedback.

All participants came from different backgrounds such as NHS, schools, Local Authority, local/community organisations and local people. An ex-circumciser, as well as a survivor herself, was there and her presence was admired by many people because her skills and experience.

Yemi said that some solicitors find it difficult to defend survivors of FGM who face immigration problems properly. It is a very challenging situation. She referred to the case of Afusat and her two daughters who were deported to Nigeria about four years ago.

Attendees requested for more of this type of workshops and training and some have put their names down for a future training opportunity. Each participant was given a copy of our publication Towards Eradicating FGM.

What works so far?

Peacemaker International has adopted a child-centred and survivor-centred approach. They have been giving talks/training in schools.


Other points raised by participants in their various groups are classified hereunder:

POINTS RAISED BY PARTICIPANTS IN THEIR VARIOUS GROUPS
10 OCTOBER 2017

Education/training:

  • Working with young people and involving men;
  • Informing men and families of the consequences and highlighting long-term health problems;
  • More liaison with schools;
  • More conversations with women from countries that are considered at high risk;
  • Compulsory training for all new health visitors;
  • Educating schools, talking to the young people, open to change;
  • Practice of having a conversation at health visitor ante-natal appt;


Support:

  • Trusting relationships;
  • Building links with the communities;
  • Peacemaker International referral as well as social services;
  • More conversations with women from countries that are considered high risk;
  • More confident about responsibility and policy guidance;
  • Encourage potential victims to make contact support/advice;
  • Encourage anybody subject to FGM to seek support/advice;


Raising Awareness:

  • TV coverage;
  • Asking every client/patient;
  • More confidence to discuss issue;
  • Not making people scared to talk;
  • More aware of FGM issues;
  • Raising awareness through events;
  • Spreading the message through social media;


Cohesive Front Against FGM:

  • Increased communications in our professions with our colleagues;
  • More confident about responsibility and policy guidance;
  • Knowledge that midwife should have talked about it;
  • More vigilant about overseas travels;
  • Raised awareness of ‘arrangements’ that may be made;
  • The multi-agency approach is working;
  • Legal requirement – now illegal;




Bradford: Zero Tolerance For FGM

6th of February is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). To commemorate this UN-sponsored day to raise awareness of FGM as part of efforts to bring FGM to an end globally, Bradford came together to declare their city ‘ZERO TOLERANCE FOR FGM.

In preparation for the day, Peacemaker International, a charity based in Bradford, approached Cllr Joanne Dodds who has been supporting their campaign against FGM since she was a Deputy/Lord Mayor of Bradford. ‘On November 16th 2016 she was nominated to be our champion of the movement’, Yemi Fagborun, the CEO of the charity said. Cllr Dodds subsequently tabled motion to make Bradford ‘Zero Tolerance for FGM’ at the Full Council Meeting on the 27th January 2017 and it was unanimously supported.

Sequel to this was the decoration of the pledge to put an end to FGM by signing the pledge; declaring Bradford Metropolitan a Zero Tolerance city for FGM. The ceremony took place on the 6th February 2017 at the City Hall, Saville Room at 10.00am. It was attended by some Council officials, individuals from the FGM practising communities in Bradford and dignitaries from the Community and Voluntary Sector, including members of the Multi-Agency Group on FGM.

The people who signed the pledge included: Cllr Joanne Dodds - our FGM champion, District Commander for the Bradford District for West Yorkshire Police, Makin Dixon Solicitors, Representative of the Racial Justice Network, Anah Project – a refuge for single women survivors of DV, Victim Support, Councillors, the Chief Executive of the Council and some Council officials, Chair, Trustees and CEO of Peacemaker International, Bradford College Group CEO and members of the public. Reporters from Telegraph and Argus, the Director of BCB Radio as well as BBC Radio Leeds were present to document the occasion.

Yemi Fagborun, (CEO of Peacemaker International) then read out an extract of her poem talking about her experience with FGM, taken from the report that was done for the conference in 2015. The poem spoke of the hardships of coming to terms with the practice, as well as the pain endured by mother and child and the struggle with speaking out about the practise.

The momentous occasion was celebrated with the cutting of a custom made ‘Zero Tolerance for FGM’ cake and the release of helium balloons outside of City Hall, symbolising the break from ties to FGM practice in Bradford and a new-found freedom.

The event was a huge step forward in tackling the practice of FGM in the district as well as shining a light on the issue that is seldom spoken about or known. Many are still ignorant of the practice and its vast consequences.

Photo 1. - COUNCIL OFFICIAL SIGNING THE PLEDGE


Photo 2. - POLICE REPRESENTATIVE SIGNING THE PLEDGE


Photo 3. - ALL TOGETHER FOR THE PLEDGE

We should all know that FGM is a safeguarding issue and we need joint efforts to combat it. Local women and girls must be protected. We must take it as a task to raise awareness of the practice and promote its eradication.

Photo 4. - CUTTING THE CAKE


Photo 5. - RELEASING THE BALOON


Peacemaker International organised a conference with the theme “Towards Eradicating FGM” in March 2015 which was well attended in Bradford. The organisation has intensified its efforts to end the practice of FGM and support survivors. Not only in Bradford, some people working for them in Africa to go to the root of the practice. Raising awareness through children and school has proved effective both in the UK and abroad.

Photo 6. - SCHOOL CHILDREN AGAINST FGM IN NIGERIA


Photo 7. - YEMI WITH TEACHERS/DEPUTY HEADS IN A NIGERIAN SCHOOL IN LAGOS


Up until now many people, including professionals, do not know much about the practice. In simple terms, FGM, also known as female circumcision or female cutting, is the removal of parts of the externa female genital organ for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.

The practice is unnecessary and it has many serious consequences at the time a baby girl or woman is cut and later in life. FGM is normally performed on newborn baby girls and young women before marriage or during pregnancy. The practice is mainly in 28 African countries and parts of the Middle and Far East. We are currently supporting some families from the practising communities. We also work with local schools to raise awareness in Bradford.

Parents must know that the practice has been prohibited in the UK. It is an offence to carry it out, or to aid, or abet or procure the performance by another person of any form of FGM except for specific medical purpose. It carries a maximum sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment. This includes British Nationals or Permanent UK Residents. It is also illegal to take girls abroad to cut. Being a sensitive issue, many people from the practising communities would not like to talk about it. Many survivors who continue to live with the pain of FGM are encouraged to come out and join the crusade to end the practice.



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PEACEMAKER INTERNATIONAL: 2014/15 ANNUAL REPORT - IMPACTING COMMUNITY

In the year leading to 31 March 2015, we had five trustees who were competent to oversee the affairs of the Charity. Our trustees are normally recruited based on their expertise and interest in supporting the objectives of the Charity.

The charity is project-based and the day to day running of our projects is in the hands of paid and volunteer staff, led by a Chief Executive Officer.

Inside the 2014/15 Annual Report, you will read about our activities and objectives in the year, emphasising a theme for the year which is ‘Impacting community’. This shows how we have been impacting the community.


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