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‘A Big Wake Up Call’

In the last few years there has been increased efforts by UK policy makers to respond to FGM. In 2009, a pioneering community empowerment programme, in partnership with Refugee Women of Bristol, was initiated as part of the Bristol Model on FGM, a city-wide partnership to respond to the emerging problem of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The efficiency of The Bristol Model is now so recognised that it is being taken up in UK wide pilots, as well as in countries that have traditionally practiced FGM. But the battle against this harmful form of violence against women and girls is not yet won, neither in Bristol nor in the world beyond. Language barriers, misunderstanding of the practice, or ignorance of laws and legislation, hard-line community traditions and gender norms still stand in the way of protecting girls and young women from this violation. The Bristol Project may be over. But the lessons learned, and the successes celebrated here, must continue to reverberate for many years to come.