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Bristol charity wins international award for FGM work

Date:18 NOV 2015
Children and young people charity Integrate Bristol has received a With and For Girls Award in recognition of its efforts towards encouraging gender equality and raising awareness of female genital mutilation (FGM).

One of just 20 organisations to win the award, Redfield-based Integrate Bristol aids young people and children arriving from other countries and cultures to successfully adapt and assimilate into the community here. The charity was selected for the award – part of a worldwide drive to support local groups working with and for young girls and women – as a result of its work using creative projects educating the public and front line professionals alike about the dangers of FGM.

The charity is primarily run and led by young women, who campaign against violence and abuse against women and girls. One of the charity’s trustees, Fahma Mohamed, founded a successful petition for the former Education Minister to remind schools nationwide of their responsibility to safeguard girls from FGM, and in October 2015 the announcement was made of the implementation of mandatory reporting of FGM cases by professionals working directly with young girls and women.

The award is a prize from the With and For Girls Collective, consisting of a selection of eight organisations (including the Stars Foundation) devoted to improving the lives of girls and women within their respective global communities. The CEO of the Stars Foundation, Muna Wehbe, explained the importance of recognising the work of local female-focused organisations:

‘The With and For Girls Award provides flexible funding to grassroots girl-focused NGOs, empowering them to invest their funds where they need them most.We want to shine a spotlight on these outstanding local organisations and encourage more funders to support girls in their role as vital agents of change within their sector.’
The significance of raising awareness of the harm caused by FGM should not be underestimated. Integrate Bristol has successfully educated thousands of young people about the risks associated with female genital mutilation using the medium of national radio and the creation of an award-winning video, as well as continuing community outreach projects designed to inform and educate about the sadly all-too-real horrors associated with FGM and measures that can be taken to prevent and, ultimately, be rid of it altogether.