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FGM Zero Tolerance Day 2021 : « A Girl From Mogadishu » No Time for Global Inaction: Unite, Fund and Act to End FGM

February 9, 2021




Panel discussion on Effective Project Financing to End FGM – Trusting and Empowering Women on the Ground, followed by Debate on and Screening of  “A Girl from Mogadishu” a film by Mary McGuckian. Watch the trailer

Sponsored by the World Bank Legal Vice Presidency, Health and Safety Directorate’s Domestic Abuse Prevention Program, the Gender Based Violence Thematic Group (Gender Group), the Brazil CMU and the Africa Region with the support of the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme to Eliminate FGM, the Global Media Campaign to End FGM, the Human Dignity Foundation and the Ifrah Foundation.

  • This event marks the FGM/C Zero Tolerance Day 2021, a UN sponsored annual awareness day that takes place of February 6, as part of international efforts o eradicate FGM/C in the world. It was first introduced in 2003.

    This year’s theme is « No time for global inaction: unite, fund and act to end FGM/C »; considering the 10 years countdown to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 5.3 deadline.

    This year’s event reminds this global urgency and calls organizations and individuals to intensify and improve cooperation, efforts and commitments for the eradication of this crime within our generation. 

    The panel discussion will bring together experts, development practitioners, professionals, survivors and activists working towards gender equality and the elimination of FGM, and will discuss actual initiatives and concrete ways in which grassroot organizations can be supported and financed to effectively put an end to FGM

    The event will also introduce the World Bank’s 5th edition of the Compendium of International and National Legal Frameworks on Female Genital Mutilation to reiterate our conviction that Justice and the Rule of Law play a major role in fighting FGM/C, as an empowerment tool. 

    To finish, this year’s session is proud to show the film A Girl From Mogadishu by Mary McGuckian: a testimony of the journey of FGM/C survivor Ifrah Ahmed as she escaped war-torn Somalia and her emergence as one of the world's best known activists against GBV and FGM/C.

  • 1:30 PM Welcoming Words and Presentation of the 5th Edition of the FGM Legal Compendium

    • Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, World Bank
    • Caren Grown, Senior Director, Gender Group, World Bank
    • Isabella Micali Drossos, Senior Counsel, World Bank

    1:50 PMPanel discussion on Effective Project Financing to End FGM – Trusting and Empowering Women on the Ground


    • Bella Bird, Senior Advisor, Africa Region, World Bank
    • Mireille Tushiminina, Global Coordinator, UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme to Eliminate FGM
    • Mariya Taher, Executive Director (U.S.) and Co-Founder, Sahiyo
    • Maggie O’Kane, Executive Director, Global Media Campaign to End FGM
    • Paul Vallely,  Author of the highly-acclaimed history Philanthropy – from Aristotle to Zuckerberg
    • Sean Coughlan, Executive Director, Human Dignity Foundation


    • Diana Arango, Senior Gender Specialist, World Bank


    3:00 PM | Debate on and Screening of “A Girl from Mogadishu”, A film by Mary McGuckian | Watch the trailer


    • Mary McGuckian, Filmmaker and Co-Founder, Ifrah Foundation
    • Ifrah Ahmed, Social Activist and Co-Founder, Ifrah Foundation
    • Leonie Kerins, Executive Director, Ifrah Foundation


    • Edith Mwenda, Senior Counsel, World Bank


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    Sandie Okoro

    Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, World Bank

    Sandie Okoro, a British Solicitor, was appointed Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the WBG in February 2017, joining from HSBC where she was General Counsel of Global Asset Management. Sandie has received numerous accolades and lifetime achievement awards in the UK and globally for her career and volunteer efforts on diversity, women’s empowerment and leadership. Among many recognitions, Sandie has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of London for her outstanding legal achievements, the UK Diversity Legal Award. In July 2017, Sandie was made an Honorary Bencher of Middle Temple and in June 2019, the Financial Times recognized her as one of the Top 20 Global General Counsels.


    Caren Grown

    Global Director, Gender, World Bank

    Caren Grown joined the World Bank Group in 2014 as Global Director, Gender, where she leads collaboration across the IBRD and IFC and with development partners to generate evidence on what boosts gender equality, and to identify emerging challenges and opportunities to close the gaps between men and women. Over the course of her career, Dr. Grown has held senior positions in several organizations, including as Senior Gender Advisor at USAID where she led the development of the Agency’s Gender Equality policy, and the UNU- WIDER program on aid effectiveness and gender equality. Dr. Grown’ s publications include Taxation and Gender Equity (Routledge 2010), The Feminist Economics of Trade (Routledge 2007), and Taking Action: Achieving Gender Equality and Empowering Women (Earthscan Press 2005).


    Isabella Micali Drossos

    Senior Counsel, World Bank

    Isabella Micali Drossos is a French and Brazilian lawyer. She joined the Bank in 1999 and has worked since then as an operational lawyer in Africa, Latin America and the Pacific Region. She has a passion for issues related to gender-based violence and collective happiness and well-being in development. She holds degrees in law and in economics from the University of Paris, an LLM from the London School of Economics and a PhD in international public law from the University Pantheon-Sorbonne.


    Bella Bird

    Senior Advisor to the Vice President for African Western and Central Region, World Bank

    Bella Bird is the Senior Adviser to the Vice President for Africa Western and Central Region. Prior to this, she was the country director for Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, one of the largest World Bank programs in Africa. Before joining the WBG in 2011, she served in various leadership positions in the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and spent seven years as an Adviser on poverty and social issues in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. She has played a leadership role to promote state-building and peacebuilding, aid effectiveness and south-south collaboration. She holds a Master of Arts in Anthropology and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.


    Mireille Tushiminina

    Global Coordinator for the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme to Eliminate FGM

    Mireille Tushiminina is the Global Coordinator for the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme to Eliminate FGM, the largest global programme to accelerate the end of FGM and advance the rights, health and well-being of women and girls. Prior to that Mireille has been the Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa where she focused extensively on monitoring and reporting on various gross human rights violations by security services and worked as a Gender and Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). She also co-founded the Shalupe Foundation, a non-profit organization with the core mission of bringing peace, prosperity, and security to women and young girls in her native Democratic Republic of the Congo.


    Mariya Taher

    Executive Director and Co-Founding Member, Sahiyo

    Mariya Taher pursued a study titled, « Understanding FGM in the United States » , at the San Francisco State University. Since then, she has worked in the field of gender violence for over a decade and is the executive director and one of the five cofounders of Sahiyo, a US-based NGO. Sahiyo is dedicated to empowering Asian communities to end female genital cutting (FGC) and create positive social change. Since 2015, she has collaborated with the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association to pass legislation to protect girls from FGC. After starting a petition and gathering over 400,000 signatures, Massachusetts became the 39th state in the U.S. to do so. Last year, she was recognized as one of the six inaugural grant recipients for the Crave Foundation for Women.


    Maggie O’Kane

    Executive Director, Global Media Campaign to End FGM

    Maggie O'Kane is a former award winning foreign correspondent and investigations editor at the Guardian in London- a career she abandoned four years ago to work directly with grassroots women FGM activist using their frontline local radio and TV to end FGM in 9 countries. Along with the UNFPA - the Global Media Campaign has pioneered this model of empowering frontline women to use media to end FGM. In the past year working with the UNFPA they have helped bring down rates of some of the worst form of FGM from over 51 per cent in Kenya to 9 per cent.


    Paul Vallely

    Author of the highly-acclaimed history Philanthropy – from Aristotle to Zuckerberg

    Paul Vallely is a Senior Honorary Fellow at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester, he is a consultant on philanthropy, ethics and international development. He has worked with government, businesses, NGOs and churches on many projects aimed at strengthening the common good. He co-wrote the report of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa and advised Bob Geldof and Bono at Gleneagles. He has written in the New York Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, Independent and Times of London.


    Seán Coughlan

    Executive Director, Human Dignity Foundation

    Seán Coughlan is the Executive director of the Human Dignity Foundation, established in 2004. The Foundation's vision is a world where children grow up safe. It works to achieve this by making child-centered grants, making organizations stronger, contributing to a resilient society and documenting & disseminating learning. The Human Dignity Foundation had an important role in pioneering the first ever pan-African roll out of direct support for women FGM activists. Amongst his many professional experiences, Seán has also been the Director of Camara Ireland that is part of a global network that trains and supports all educators working with low income communities to use technology to inspire young people to master 21st century learning skills.


    Diana Arango

    Senior Gender Specialist, World Bank

    Diana J. Arango is the Sr. Gender-Based Violence and Development Specialist in the Gender Cross-Cutting Solutions Area at the World Bank Group. She has more than 10 years of experience working on development issues including gender-based violence, specifically within the context of humanitarian settings. Before joining the World Bank Group, she was a Research Scientist at George Washington University's Global Women's Institute leading rsearch on violence against women and girls in conflict settings.


    Mary McGuckian

    Filmmaker and Founding Member, Ifrah Foundation

    Mary McGuckian is committed to dramatic story telling from a female perspective and equal opportunities for women in the film industry. All of her films have premiered at prestigious film festivals around the world from Sundance and Tribeca in the US, to Europe and many have earned nominations and prizes. Her most recent film, A Girl from Mogadishu picked up audience and jury awards and was also the recipient of the Cinema for Peace Foundation Women’s Empowerment Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2020. Mary McGuckian also volunteers with a number of gender focused non profits, including the Ifrah Foundation in its quest to end FGM by 2030.


    Ifrah Ahmed

    Founder and Program Director, Ifrah Foundation

    Ifrah Ahmed is an Irish/Somali activist, campaigner and CSO director in FGM/C abandonment. She set up her first CSO, United Youth of Ireland in 2008. From personal experience, she leant her voice to the FGM/C campaign in Ireland and Europe and focused on the specific gender issue of FGM/C by founding in 2012 the CSO that carries her name. Ifrah Foundation has partnered on impactful projects with international NGOs and has formed strategic partnerships with governmental agencies on policy and legislation. Her focus over the past four years has been to deliver programs in Somalia providing evidence-based results that inform its proposed national action plan for the abandonment of FGM/C in Somalia.


    Leonie Kerins

    Executive Director, Ifrah Foundation

    Leonie has worked in the field of human rights and social justice for over 20 years. Having spent almost 12 years working for Doras, a human rights based NGO supporting asylum seekers, refugees and migrants to secure access to their rights, she joined the Foundation in November 2018. Leonie spent over 10 years working for the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) in Paris. Many of these years were on the Africa Desk working as part of a team guiding African governments through the World Heritage application process.


    Edith Mwenda

    Senior Counsel, World Bank

    Edith Ruguru Mwenda is a Senior Counsel at the World Bank, she joined the World Bank in 2001 and has worked as an operational lawyer in Africa, Middle East and in the Caribbean. She has been for many years the Gender Advisor for the Legal Department and the Gender Group at the World Bank and has a passion for Gender Based Violence and development, including operationalization of GBV prevention and response in World Bank operations, codes of conduct and related issues. Edith holds a LL.B from the University of Nairobi, a LLM in banking and finance from the University of London (Queen Mary College) and a LLM in international environmental law from the George Washington University. She is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya.


  • WHEN: Tuesday February 9, 1:30 PM - 5: 30 PM
  • WHERE: Virtual
  • ACCESS: Public
  • REGISTRATION: Not Required
  • HASHTAG: #endfgm