“The Global health Society” hosts UnCUT/VOICES press at the University of heidelberg medical School
At the Krehl Klinik for internal medicine at the University of Heidelberg on 2 December 2014, Tobe Levin asked students to consider the pivotal importance of clinicians in efforts to end FGM. Highlighted were the guidance offered by the Inter-African Committee in its Bamako Declaration and in the words of survivors like Khady and Kiminta [see http://nofgm.org/2014/11/12/the-bamako-declaration-female-genital-mutilation-terminology-mali-2005/] Gratitude goes to enthusiastic seminar participants and especially to my hosts Kariyo Grace Nyandwi and professor Olaf Horstick.
New Journalism Award named after Efua Dorkenoo
Reporting on Ban Ki-moon’s backing for the Guardian’s global media campaign (30 October 2014), Alexandra Topping writes: “Ban also announced a reporting award will be granted annually to an African reporter who has demonstrated innovation and commitment in covering FGM. The winner will spend two months training and working in the Guardian’s head offices in London. The award is named after Efua Dorkenoo, who campaigned against FGM for 30 years before her death earlier this month, and headed up the Girl Generation consortium.”
Thank you again, Efua. We couldn’t be more proud of our mentor and friend.
Thinking about Femicide and FGM …
Have you ever thought about the relationship between femicide/gendercide and FGM? On October 20, 2014, UnCUT/VOICES’ CEO Tobe Levin von Gleichen offered “Guidelines for Thinking about Femicide … or toward understanding without despair,” a PowerPoint presentation requested by Oxford University’s charity Women for Women International.
Held in St. Edmund Hall, the lecture intended to introduce the audience to The Three Deadliest Words in the World: It’s a Girl, a documentary about the planet’s 200 million missing women. Their absence traceable mainly to India and China, they are not with us because, in most cases, female foetuses were never allowed to be born or, as neonates, had been killed at birth — a fact so distressing that, we believed, some successes in global efforts to improve vulnerable female lives should be given first.
In this regard, the fight to end female genital mutilation is promising because it provides proof that, not only can a nefarious custom end, but it can attract the attentive devotion of men and women alike. Among my friends of Igbo ethnicity from Nigeria, for instance, whose grandmothers, born at the turn of the twentieth century, underwent clitoridectomy, neither their mothers nor peers of our generation – born mid-twentieth century – endured the practice. Thus we see that a stubborn, widespread tradition can be stopped – a fact enormously encouraging to activists. Once a mother draws the line, it is likely that her uncut daughters’ daughters will be spared — with the beneficent complicity of men.
Evidence of both — mothers saving their daughters from the cut and male allies — can be found in Khady’s Blood Stains and Hubert Prolongeau’s Undoing FGM. Pierre Foldes, The Surgeon Who Restores the Clitoris.
UnCUT/VOICES thanks Elsa Field of Oxford’s Women for Women and Dr. Maria Jaschok, chair of International Gender Studies at Lady Margaret Hall. The opportunity to address articulate Oxford students was welcome, as their responses in Q & A inspired ‘keeping calm and carrying on’ with the Sisyphus work toward change.
PS. Don’t miss Leyla Hussein’s stunning obituary in The Guardian at
MORE NEWS …
On October 14, 2014, Hilary Burrage and Tobe Levin attended PLAN UK’s celebration of the “International Day of the Girl Child” where, in the Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre, London, Hilary introduced Tobe and hence UnCUT/VOICES Press to the Shadow Home Office Minister for Preventing Violence Against Women, Seema Malhotra, MP. In her speech as part of the ‘Pathways to Power’ panel, the Member of Parliament emphasized her support for empowering girls as a strategy against harassment and coercive force, including FGM and child or forced marriage, and promised that a Labour Party victory would witness “landmark legislation” on violence against women. The safety of boys, though often the bullies, was also part of her mandate, and she urged young women to “connect with politicians to bring about change.” The venue afforded discussion with other attendees, most important with two key allies among academics in the British movement against FGM, Professor Hazel Barrett of Coventry University and Louise Robertson, an active researcher with the charity 28TooMany that has been advising the Oxford University study group on FGM.
Good news about Sierra Leone
On September 20, 2014, prefacing her remarks with gratitude to find committed allies against FGM in the Diaspora from Sierra Leone, Tobe Levin explained one “Response of the German community to FGM.” The invitation from Catherine Kambo, president of the KGSS-OGA e.V. to FORWARD-Germany — Levin is now Vice-President — provided an opportunity to describe the Clitoris Restoration Fund inspired by Dr. Pierre Foldes, subject of Hubert Prolongeau’s Undoing FGM. In the city hall in Schwalbach outside Frankfurt, the Sierra Leonean Association — a Bondo group — had combined a girls’ alternative rite of passage with a symposium on FGM and teen pregnancy. On the podium were imams and other Islamic and Christian male leaders embracing the cause of abolition.