The charity Integrate UK have released a kicking video spelling out why FGM in all its forms needs to be called out as criminal. Mukhtar Hassan tells Standard Issue more about the work they do and fields some questions about their latest YouTube campaign.
The horror of female genital mutilation (FGM) may not strike many as obvious subject matter for an upbeat song and wonderfully shareable YouTube video.
But members of Bristol-based charity Integrate UK have captured the interest of the internet with their track, and associated hashtag, #MyClitoris.
We asked lead outreach worker Mukhtar Hassan to give us a bit of background to the charity and field some questions about the campaign which is elevating their aims to a higher profile platform.
Integrate UK is a small educational charity with a wide reaching impact.
Starting in 2008 with four terrified girls writing poetry about FGM, it has grown from strength to strength and now has well over 100 outspoken members who create resources and campaign for changes to policies around health, law and education.
Using a youth-led, creative and educational approach, the charity empowers young people to challenge, speak out against and campaign for change around issues that affect them.
In 2014, Integrate Bristol’s young trustee Fahma Mohamed was the face of the petition to Michael Gove, the former Secretary of State for Education [calling for teaching about FGM to be part of the school curriculum]. The petition was one of the fastest growing Change.org had ever run, and within a few weeks, resulted in victory.
The young people have advised ministers, gained the support of Malala Yousafzai and Ban Ki-Moon and have been at the forefront of the movement to eradicate FGM in a generation.
They use media resources they have made to deliver peer education in schools and train frontline professionals in FGM Safeguarding; over the past year, they have extended their work to include grooming for child sexual exploitation, radicalisation and drug/gang culture. In 2017 they will offer sessions on right-wing extremism and the concept of ‘honour’.
Our latest music video is called #MyClitoris. It was made by the young people in response to an article in The Economist suggesting that less severe forms of FGM were acceptable.
Standard Issue: What prompted the #MyClitoris video?
Bethel, young person and Integrate UK outreach worker: “The idea for a music video about type I and type IV FGM has always been at the back of our minds.
“In June when The Economist published the article titled An Agonising Choice, it was the final straw. People need to stop trying to find a degree of abuse that is acceptable. FGM is child abuse. No matter what form it comes in.”
Where did the idea come from?
Lisa Zimmerman, director of Integrate UK: “The idea to make the music video came from the young people who were outraged at the article about why so-called milder forms of FGM should be legalised.”
What has the reaction been like so far?
Mukhtar Hassan: “The reaction we’ve had to the music video has been amazing; we even got a retweet from Lily Allen and Cathy Newman!”
Ifraah, lead outreach worker: “We were hoping to make every girl watching the video to realise FGM isn’t always just an African issue because type IV affects all girls from different backgrounds, religions and age.”
Who was involved in making it?
Oliver Zimmerman, video director: “The music was written by Rosina Buck and the young people of Integrate UK and it was produced by Zed Productions, Integrate UK’s media partner.”
Sami, young person and events and development coordinator: “In the new year, myself and another young person will be leading work against so-called honour crime and forced marriage.
“This work will aim to highlight the ongoing battle against the idea of honour, and raising awareness of the subject and its effects in young people.”1517 Views