A Midwife from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and NSPCC Wales together with BAWSO have won one of the UK’s top midwifery prizes at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Midwifery Awards.
Midwife Karen Jewell and Ruth Mullineux from NSPCC won the Slimming World Award for Partnership Working on a project to tackle and raise awareness of female genital mutilation (FGM) with young people in Wales.
The award was for ‘Voices over Silence’ project which aimed at engaging and involving young people from 12-19 years, and raising awareness about FGM with them. The project and campaign is a partnership between Health, Bawso and NSPCC Cymru/Wales.
The initiative brought a group of young people together from schools across Cardiff who together worked on girl’s rights and issues related to FGM over a six month period from September 2015. The aim was to empower and encourage this group of young people to become cultural change-makers on FGM, raising awareness in their own places schools and colleges and producing materials to spark conversations.
The partnership of midwives, the NSPCC and BAWSO includes setting up workshops for the young people on Women’s Health, Children’s Rights and Child Protection to help them better understand the issue of FGM. Participants also developed a range of materials such as a film, posters and leaflets relevant to their peer group which would enable discussion and highlight the issue with their school and college colleagues.
Voices Over Silence has already led to change. Calls to the NSPCC FGM have more than doubled since the project began. It has influenced a new curriculum module on FGM in schools as part of the Welsh Government’s strategic direction for FGM. The film developed by the young women in the project will be included on the ChildLine website. The project poster is also due to be adopted as the official NSPCC FGM helpline poster, and the initiative will also be included in forthcoming UK wide Home Office Guidance on FGM.
Karen and Ruth were presented with their award at the Royal College of Midwives Annual Midwifery Awards at a ceremony in The Brewery, London on the 7th March 2017. The ceremony was hosted by journalist and broadcaster Natasha Kaplinski.
Ruth Walker, Executive Director of Nursing and Deputy Chief Executive for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: “I’d like to congratulate Karen, Ruth and the team on winning this prestigious award.
“It is important to broach issues such as FGM with young people to bring about awareness of this practice in the community. Working alongside our partners and agencies, we hope the Voices over Silence project will help prevent and eradicate FGM in Wales in the future.”
Suzanne Hardacre, Head of Midwifery and Lead Directorate Nurse for Obstetric and Gynecological Services at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: “Congratulations on this award win. Receiving this award recognises the hard work and dedication that the partnership has done with the Voices over Silence project to raise awareness of FGM with young people.”
Carolyn Pallister, Slimming World Public Health Manager, said: “Increasing awareness of FGM is very important and we commend Karen and Ruth for their excellent work in this area. The fact that more people are seeking support through the NSPCC FGM service since the project began shows both how effective it has been and how much it was needed. Voices Over Silence shows what can be achieved when small groups of people work together to achieve a common goal and we’d like to congratulate everyone involved.”
Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “I heartily congratulate Karen and Ruth on this win for a very well deserved and important project. Great strides have been made in tackling FGM in the UK and much of that is thanks to the work of midwives like Karen and Ruth.
“Teamwork and cooperation across the professions are crucial to delivering the best possible care. This project certainly delivers that. Karen, Ruth and the whole team involved should be rightly proud of their achievements, for the help and support they continue give to women, and for their efforts to raise awareness of FGM.”