What we do
One of the strands of our work is to raise awareness of female genital cutting, dispel the myths and share the news of how female genital cutting (FGC) is abandoned. Communicating the positive stories of abandonment is vital to sharing the message that FGC can and is being ended. We want to shine the light on the excellent work being done at the community level.
Who we communicate with and why
We are communicating the realities of FGC as well as the hope and possibility about the movement to end female genital cutting. We do this to various audiences: those in the development sector working on women’s or heath issues, to politicians and influential decision makers, as well as to the wider public.
Our website, blogs, tweets and letters communicate female genital cutting related news and successes, both of our partners and others. We gather and share stories from activists and organisations around the world in our regular round-ups.
We are committed to communicating accurate and non-sensational information about female genital cutting –where it happens, why it happens, how much and how it happens, as well as the good news about where it is ending.
We report on some of the resistance to ending FGC, including how and where it is perpetuated and entrenched in cultural behaviour in communities and in law. Sharing accurate information about FGC is fundamentally important to our ethos.
Communications projects: Sister Fa
We work alongside Senegalese hip-hop and urban soul artist, and anti-FGC ambassador Sister Fa who uses her music to raise awareness about female genital cutting. In 2011 Sister Fa won the prestigious ‘Freedom to Create’ prize (an award that showcases the creativity of artists who use their talents to promote social justice).
In May 2012 we supported Sister Fa on tour in Senegal, where she engaged local rural communities, especially young people around FGC. The project, entitled ‘Education sans excision’ (‘education without cutting’), reached out to 5,000 young people in the Casamance, the southern-most region of Senegal, by playing concerts audiences and running workshops within schools to educate and empower young people around ending FGC.
This tour followed up on a seminar that we had helped Sister Fa to organise in Dakar in January 2012 with musicians from around the region. Sister Fa has also secured funding from UNFPA to work with Senegalese artists on a compilation of songs about human rights. Read more about the ‘Day of Reflection’ in our blog.
We also worked with Sister Fa on International Day against FGC on 6 February 2012 she spoke at the House of Commons in London about the progress made to end FGC and on BBC Radio 4, Woman’s Hour. She went on to give her first live performance in the UK. The event featured a showing of award-winning documentary, Sarabah, a film made about Sister Fa and her FGC activism.
Activities and awareness-raising
You can follow us on twitter and like us on Facebook. From these platforms you can find out about activities and events that we are organising, and about different ways that you can support us. Our aim is to have current news and updates about FGC in one place.
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At Orchid Project we try to be creative in the ways that we reach out to new, diverse audiences. Our events are as much about raising awareness as they are about raising funds. In the past, we have put on film nights and held discussions and dinners.
We have supported several film and music nights across London and to mark International day against FGC this year, we hosted an exclusive London concert with Senegalese hip-hop star and anti-FGC activist Sister Fa. Keep an eye on our blog and news pages for upcoming events.
Girls Girls Girls is a regular fixture in our calendar, an evening showcasing some spectacular female performers and is managed by two very talented musicians and Orchid supporters, Sam Lindo and Eliza Shaddad. All female line-ups have been performing at venues across London from St Pancras Old Church to Dalston Old Boys’ Club.
We are supported by various fundraising events. In September 2011, Orchid staff and friends took part in the Women’s 5k Challenge in Hyde Park. We have also had dedicated runners take part in the Bath Half Marathon, the Paris Marathon and some fantastic support from Wynne who climbed Kilimanjaro in aid of Orchid Project.
If you would like to raise awareness in your town, or your university, put on a film screening or hold a curry night, or even run a marathon. If you’re interested in fundraising for Orchid, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) and talk to us about what you’d like to do.
It’s also really easy to set up a fundraising page. For information, ideas and support, contact us.