International Conference: Ending Female Genital...
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On the third of September, Nottingham Trent University played host to the Mojatu Ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Together international conference. Bringing together many influential international delegates. The conference focused on how FGM plays a major role as a right of passage ceremony for many young girls in many African and Asian cultures and how this cultural practice is not only damaging emotionally to a young girl but also physically scaring. Though I knew little about FGM. This conference gave me more knowledge of how girls as young as eight undergo this practice not only for social standing, as a girl who has undergone FGM is a more likely candidate to get married, but also as a way to control a girl’s sexuality.

Many of the influential speakers included Valentine Nkoyo, Director of the Mojatu Foundation and Chair of Nottingham Community FGM steering Group of Maasai origin and Hana Gibremedhen of Ethopian origin. Both underwent FGM at a young age and are living with the consequences of this dangerous practice until today and are now at the fore front as activist campaigning to bring an end to FGM.

During the conference, I attended the Language, Arts and Culture workshop which was headed by Dr. Adebayo Adebisi. In this, I learned that FGM is used as a status symbol. For example, in countries such as Sierra Leone in the Bundu society, the deeper the cut the higher in society the woman.

Another speaker during the workshop was Joyce Wambura of the Kuria people of Kenya. She talked about Challenging FGM Practices in Kenya using Language. She explained that amongst the Abakuria people the songs that they sing during an FGM ceremony describe the girl and soon-to-be-woman as a rock, the sun or other positive adjectives and for those women who are uncircumcised, they would be bestowed negative adjectives. She talked about how we should find a way to replace the circumcision of girls with a much safer alternative to mark a girl coming into womanhood.
It saddens me that in this day and age, a girl’s sexuality is being controlled from such a young and vulnerable age and that it is not only circumcision that is used to control her sexuality. Not only that but that circumcision is used to increase a girl’s value in society when it comes to finding her a husband.

This conference really highlighted to me how important we should raise the issue on FGM and focus more on women’s rights.
It is not only women who should be at the fore front of these campaign but men as well as they are the leaders of the tribes that participate in FGM. By making them understand that this practice is harming their daughters, nieces or cousins it will hopefully bring an end to this horrid and dangerous practice.

Thank you to KWiSA (Kenyan Women in Scotland Association) and The Scottish Refugee Council for giving me this opportunity to go down to Nottingham.

Wacera Kamonji



Kenyan Women in Scotland Association, c/o NIDOS, Thorn&House, 5 Rose St, Edinburgh EH2 2PR
As someone who loves her food, I am always puzzled as to how people know its "National food day" until it blows up on either twitter or instagram. I didn't know so many days were dedicated to food until Andrea Bacinska, the Community Manager at Zomato Edinburgh, decided to take matters in her own hands and create a calender celebrating national food days in the UK. So for all you food lovers out there there is no excuse on missing out on important food days.
Foodie from a young age

Big shout out to Andrea for creating this very handy calender.

At only eighteen years old, singer/songwriter and musician Duncan Grant has a musical talent beyond his years. From performing at his school to small venues in Edinburgh, he manages to draw a crowd wherever he performs. Specialising his musical talent to Rock 'n' Roll and the Blues, he tries to strip his music style to its raw form while adding a modern twist. Stating that "Though it is a challenge to break into a connected world of managers, musicians and organisers, this doesn't stop me from practicing in my room"

 "Though it is a challenge to break into a connected world of managers, musicians and organisers, this doesn't stop me from practicing in my room"
Over the summer, Duncan has gone from practicing in his room to having a busy summer playing various small shows during this year's Edinburgh Fringe festival and the Metropolitan fashion show and has even taken his musical talents and ventured down to London to study Popular Music and Performance at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) over the next 3 years. This bundle of talent is a force to be reckoned with so watch out London!!

Photoshoot location: Biscuit Factory in Edinburgh

A handful of the amazing vintage fashion seen at July's Judy Vintage Sale in Edinburgh
"Open Up is a variety performance night, set up by In Your Face Theatre to support talent from Edinurgh, Glasgow, or wherever you come from. It is held at the Tron Pub in Hunter's Square, Edinburgh.

It is a safe environment for you to try out your skills and meet other performers! Think of it as performing in the privacy of your bedroom, but receiving a real audience reaction!

We have had outstanding performances from big names from Edinburgh and encourage anyone and everyone to get up on that little stage and show us your talent- whether that be acting, music, improv, poetry, stand up, magic, or anything you can perform in the Basement Bar of the Tron Pub!!"

Nearing the end of May, I recently discovered Open Up, a platform in which performers of all sorts from comedians, actors and singers can practice their material in front of a small audience. Founded about one year ago, it was set up by Greg Esplin who is an actor and the artistic director of In your Face Theatre. It is now co-hosted by Greg Esplin and fellow actress Jessica Innes as a way to create a platform for upcoming actors, singers and comedians in Edinburgh. I recently got a chance to perform at Open up which is hosted every two weeks on a Friday at the basement of the Tron Pub and though at first I was nervous, I had a blast. With a friendly audience, and talented performers, your Friday night will start on high note and whether your a performer or not, you should definitely head down to Open up.

Open up at the Tron Pub

Photos provided by Jessica Innes

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