March 3rd 2004 was not only an extremely exciting day because of the enactment of the FGM Act 2003 but also because David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, and Baroness Patricia Scotland, a Home Office Minister, visited the FORWARD office to launch the new law.
The FORWARD office was heaving with FORWARD council members, staff, peer educators and representatives from other NGO’s, Black Women’s Health and Family Support and RAINBO who all participated in a round table discussion led by Mr. Blunkett. Mr. Blunkett was very honest about his feelings towards the subject and talked of his emotional response when he first spoke to survivors of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). He stated this as the driving force behind his commitment to the campaign against FGM. Baroness Scotland confirmed her commitment and took this opportunity to engage with some survivors of FGM.
This was a very hectic day and we were flooded with journalists from various newspapers, television and radio stations. Throughout the course of the day FORWARD staff, our Council of Management and peer educators gave interviews to BBC World Service, BBC Hausa Service, Focus on Africa, Network Africa and an Australian radio service as well as speaking to a host of local radio stations.
The day was a success on so many levels and we were glad that our new Kensal Green Offices hosted such an important first event.
Read a BBC report about the new legislation with a photo of David Blunkett’s visit to the FORWARD Office here.
Read the corresponding Home Office Press release covering David Blunkett’s visit here.