'My Voice Matters' Conference: knowledge exchange on engaging communities

In 2019, the End FGM European Network has focused its energy on promoting community engagement and sharing knowledge and good practises from the different FGM-affected communities’ perspectives. That is why our co-organised conference this year focused on acknowledging the importance of engaging with young activists specifically to end FGM and gender-based violence.

On the 29th and 30th of November, FORWARD welcomed delegates from all over Europe and the UK for 2 days of intensive and inspiring conference.

On this occasion, our Ambassadors programme was presented by Isma Benboulerbah, Programme Officer, to the participants and 6 of our Ambassadors shared their actions to end FGM. It was also an opportunity to share our position paper on 'Engaging with communities'. Alya Harding and Salamata Wone shared the important work of the Youth Ambassadors and their project of creating a YouTube channel (more information coming soon) on which they have been working for months!

Fatou Diatta, aka Sister Fa, once more highlighted the need for organisations and civil societies to build bridges between Europe and all communities practising FGM on all continents. Involving diasporas and their countries of origins is the best strategy to end FGM on a long-term basis.

Wedad Almizori co-chaired a panel on engaging with communities and brought the difficulties of engaging with Kurdish communities. It was also a moment for the participants to understand that other communities are also affected by FGM and that they night to have more visibility in order to tackle this issue.

The second day was focused on young women and strengthening their leadership: Alya, who is doing an internship with FORWARD UK, helped in the organisation and Sister Fa shared with everybody her leadership journey. In the afternoon, all the Ambassadors tried to tackle important issues such as the correlation between social norms and violence against women and girls.