Nottingham will be the key speakers at a United Nations-led event on ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), as the UK’s first city to take a zero-tolerance policy.
After becoming the first city in the UK to take the stance in September 2016, Nottingham has been internationally recognised as a leading figure in the fight to ending FGM for girls and young women around the world.
The invite to the celebration, taking place on Monday 27 March, brings together vital support foundations, countries from across the world and the United Nations itself to discuss the issues surrounding FGM and how measures can be taken to stop young women becoming victims.
Councillor Jackie Morris, The Sheriff of Nottingham, and Valentine Nkoyo, Director of Alfreton Road-based group Mojatu Foundation, have received will be leading the presentations at the event. Both invitees have been asked to present in front of an international audience in order to showcase how Nottingham is leading the UK’s battle on FGM.
Valentine said: “Receiving an invite to the event in Vienna is great news for our fight against FGM. Not only does it provide our organisation with an international platform to explain and help others in their fight against FGM, but the invite is also international recognition for the vital work we do here in Nottingham.
“I am grateful for the support from Nottingham City Council, the Office of the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner for continued support and all our other funders and partners. The Women Federation for World Peace UK and Vienna have been instrumental in getting us such a platform and we are grateful for this support.”
Valentine added: “FGM is a major issue around the world and so for the United Nations and the Women Federation for World Peace to be supporting the fight against it will help provide support for many young women.”
FGM represents a risk to physical health, mental health and quality of life for young women across the whole of the United Kingdom and throughout the world. It is believed over 60,000 people are at risk of abuse in this country alone.
In October 2016, as part of Nottingham in Parliament Day at Westminster, the Mojatu Foundation hosted an event to discuss how organisations and charities can get involved with the stand against the practice. Valentine explained how those in the UK and across the world could use Nottingham as a model in how to tackle FGM.
Some of the ways Nottingham is actively fighting FGM include a survivor based support group, the Nottingham Community FGM Steering Group. It was formed in 2014 and now has over 80 members from more than 25 countries. Members include survivors, religious leaders and young people in the Nottingham community.
The city is also providing resources and training to bring teaching to schools and the community to create awareness in the local area as well as figures within the Council.
Speaking about the invite, Councillor Jackie Morris said: “As an Ambassador for Nottingham and the initiator of the motion to the City Council to declare ourselves the first city in the UK to be a zero tolerance city for FGM, this invite is fantastic news. The recognition from the UN spurs me on to encourage other cities to do the same, enabling the UK to become a zero tolerance nation.
“As the leading city in the UK, it is going to be a valuable opportunity for Nottingham to guide other cities around the world in the battle against FGM. We are extremely proud of the ways we are tackling FGM in Nottingham and the UK, so to attend this event alongside the Mojatu Foundation will help us continue this important work.”