Day 9

Day 9

The issue of female genital mutilation (FGM) might be front page news and the go-to policy success for the PM, but work to prevent it and support survivors on the ground is grossly underfunded, or not at all in some places.

When we started Daughters of Eve five years ago the issue had been neglected for years so the idea of funding for a survivor-led or focused organisation was wishful thinking. Years on this is still the case. Organisations working directly with those affected or at risk of FGM are mostly run on good will and commitment from some amazing people.

Integrate Bristol, which is the UK leading charity working with young people from FGM affected communities has since it was founded in 2008 till only months ago been staffed by volunteers. This an organisation that supports over a 100 young people, and has spearheaded campaigns on ending FGM and other forms of violence against women and girls within BME communities.  

The practice of FGM is a reality in this country and those at risk need specialist support, which cannot be provided on the shoestring grants or funding pots currently out there. Nor can we keep relying on volunteers to deliver life-saving work.

The systems needed to help identify FGM have been successful and we are now more aware of the issue, but this also means that more young women will be coming forward for support that is currently lacking. I can personally tell you how painful it is to be on a phone for hours seeking a bed for a young woman who fears for her life because she needed medical treatment after an act of violence.

The lack of services and support for those affected by or at risk of FGM is only one part of a bigger picture, and we need to take a more reliable, thoughtful approach across the board.

Nimco Ali is the founder of Daughters of Eve

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