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How are Soroptimists helping to tackle FGM?

Northwest England and the Isle of Man Regional Meeting – 15 June 2019

Grange and Lancaster Soroptimists make bracelets for Grange midwife Cath Holland who is pivotal in eradicating FGM ( Female Genital Mutilation) in Pokot in Kenya.

Cath founded a charity Beyond FGM  and works with others to prevent FGM. Cath spoke about FGM and her work at the NW Soroptimists Regional meeting and was presented with bracelets by Grange and Lancaster Soroptimists. The bracelets are given to the girls at their Rite of Passage ceremony

Cath talked about visiting Kenya on VSO when she was teaching midwives and encountered many problems in her clinical work on the labour ward with women and girls suffering from complications related to FGM. Cath spoke about her wish to eradicate FGM and although there is a lot of work to be done, the work being done by Cath and  the Beyond FGM team includes talking to the young men and male elders in the villages, educating the girls with a course and then an alternative rite of passage ceremony and educating the traditional birth attendants. Education also  includes talking about the dangers of early childbirth as many girls are married and giving birth as young as  15.

What is FGM?

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, including the clitoris and labia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
The harmful effects of FGM can include haemorrhage, shock, sepsis, psychological trauma and even death.
The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. Increasingly, however, FGM is being performed by health care providers.
An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM. (World Health Organisation figures)

A useful  FGM fact sheet produced by the UN

Regional Programme Action Work

Regional PA Officer Isabel spoke about the Sustainable Development Goals index which a really useful resource is giving a lot of information about different countries’  progress re the Sustainable development goals and facts and figures in support of the goals.

The awards for project work were awarded to SI Pendleside (Darwen Shield) for their Toiletries for Custodians project and SI Grange (Carnforth Award) for Singing for Memory.  A total of 112 reports had been submitted by the Region during the year with an estimated 4,248 beneficiaries and £28,000 raised.