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International Day of the Girl Child

As an education and empowerment programme offering advice and workshops to people to help empower them to take control of their own health, MyHealth like to ensure we are always adding to our own learning. So we were pleased to be invited to attend the International Day of the Girl Child: Ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by 2030, for a very interesting and informative day of talks and workshops around the subject of FGM and other harmful practices.


Held at the Beck theatre in Hayes, the day was chaired by Rohma Ullah of the National FGM Centre http://nationalfgmcentre.org.uk The centre aims to achieve a system change in the provision of services for children and families affected by FGM and therefore works closely with key partners, including Local Authorities.


Following on from this, Hillingdon Council’s approach to tackling FGM was outlined by Anthony Madden, Head of Service – Stronger Families Hub. He talked about how social work needs to be about change and how the council is adopting this. In addition, key learnings from the FGM project in Hillingdon illustrated how to improve the local authority response to FGM.


The event was really useful in teaching participants about harmful practices and what needs to happen now. As well as learning how to assess if FGM is taking place; looking out for those at risk of FGM; and empowering and engaging communities to end FGM, we heard about the approaches of the Home Office FGM Unit and the Metropolitan Police’s response to harmful practices.


But it doesn’t stop there - we also learnt about best practice approaches to teaching FGM in schools, from the Head of Norbury Primary School in Harrow, with children from the school giving a wonderful performance to illustrate the PANTS campaign https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/support-for-parents/pants-underwear-rule


A very powerful and moving talk was given by Valerie Lolomari, an FGM survivor, who spoke about her FGM story. She has subsequently developed a safe place for survivors via Women of Grace UK. Find out more here https://www.womenofgrace.org.uk


MyHealth held a stall at the event, where we were able to give out lots of information about our workshops. Several attendees enquired about our menopause workshops, with one reporting: “I went to my GP and they weren’t interested in listening to me” – underlining just how much our workshops are needed.


All in all, it was a really impactful day and illustrated how working together achieves better outcomes.


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