A new Northamptonshire group which aims to protect women at risk of genital mutlation is appealing for volunteers to help.
The Female Genital Mutilation Action Group was recently set up to address the issues faced by women from communities who practise the procedure, to raise awareness, provide information, advice and support to help victims and to protect those at risk, with the ultimate aim to end the practice completely.
Northamptonshire is one of the top 10 places in the country where the procedure is most common, and Dana Hannon, chairman of the action group, said: “The group was formed out of a converstation with some Somali women who had undergone the procedure when they were children. They wanted to raise awareness of it, educate people about it, and ultimately stop the practice. They didn’t let their children have it done and they wanted to raise awareness in their community.”
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a collective term for all procedures which include the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.
It is not like male circumcision and can cause long-term mental and physical suffering, difficulty in giving birth, infertility and even death.
The Northamptonshire FGM group, which is the umbrella group for the Northamptonshire honour based violence forum, is appealing for men, women and young people aged between 18 and 25 years old to volunteer to help the group reach out to communities as part of the groups’s new pilot scheme, which is funded by the Home Office and will take place in Northampton.
Mrs Hannon said: “We want to help people open up a conversation on the subject in a sensitive way. We are appealing for volunteers to support us to get the pilot scheme recognized and then rolled out at a county-wide level.”
Volunteers need to be good communicators and listeners and should have a good knowledge of FGM or be keen to learn about it.
THE new action group will help other communities, not just the Somali population.
Mrs Hannon added: “It’s also about other practising communities including other African countries, Bahrain, Oman, as well as some Pakistani and Indian Bohra Muslims. It happens through many more communities of which we have a lot of here in Northamptonshire.”
Survivor, Shukri Dhiabaas, who is working with the action group, said: “It was the most frightening and excruciatingly painful day of my life. Every day is still painful. I do not want my children to experience this. We need to stop this practice.”
To get involved call Dana on 07832 104 319 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or
call Zahira Case on Northampton 947858 or email: email@example.com
The closing date to register interest is tomorrow and a training session will take place on Thursday, February 21.