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Working together with communities against FGM

09 Aug 2023

University hosts multidisciplinary learning and sharing event about Female Genital Mutilation

NESTAC (New Step for African Communities) logo

The Directorates of Equality. Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and Social Responsibility in partnership with Community Based Medical Education (Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health) and NESTAC (New Step for African Communities) Charity recently hosted the 2023 multidisciplinary Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) awareness day ‘Women’s Bodies: Illusions of Choice’. 

Staff and students from across the University, along with members of our local communities, heard from a variety of speakers about FGM and how we can better support those who have experienced gender-based violence (GBV). 

Dr Peggy Mulongo (Director, NESTAC) and Sarah Malik (FGM Emotional Wellbeing Coordinator, NESTAC) began the day by introducing NESTAC. The NGO has campaigned since 2003 to promote equality and diversity; working closely with women who have faced GBV in minoritised communities in Greater Manchester.  

This was followed by Professor Jane Ogden, University of Surrey, who gave a wider perspective on the influences on women’s bodies and Shamsa Shaware who shared her lived experience of FGM and of campaigning against it. 

The conference featured a number of workshops with opportunities to discuss the NESTAC peer mentoring scheme:  

  • Professor Jane Ogden and Erica Sullivan led a workshop entitled ‘Body esteem: do we really ever choose how we look?’ about the ways women change their bodies and the choices we make to augment the way we look.  
  • Dr Yara Mohammed from St Mary’s Hospital help attendees understand some of the FGM surgical correction options. 
  • Dr Peggy Mulongo talked about sexual experiences of women with FGM 
  • Aziza Finkelstein and her youth colleagues discussed campaigning, advocacy and promoting behaviour change. 
  • Dr Rebecca Farrington revised communication skills essential for disclosure of sensitive issues. 

Banji Adewumi, Director of EDI, said: “This powerful event provided an opportunity to learn more about FGM and understand how we can better support those who have experienced GBV. I am reminded that many in life have had to make choices even though it seemed that there were no choices for them at the time. 

"I would like to thank those who worked collaboratively to organise and deliver such an important day.” 

Katie Rooney, Year 4 Student Doctor, said: “Overall it was a fantastic day and brilliant opportunity to meet inspirational people working to alleviate violence against women and girls. The event was a great opportunity to network with volunteers, healthcare students, clinicians, researchers and teachers, alongside public servants including police officers.  

“This was a thought-provoking event that has helped me understand the different ways to support those who have experienced GBV and how we can apply this knowledge in our everyday practice” 

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