The History of the Walk To End FGM

Six years ago in 2014, the Executive Director of Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation (GWPF) submitted a proposal to their Board of Directors to host a 5K walk in Washington, D.C.  It was a tall proposal, considering the organization had never hosted an event of that type and size.  The purpose was to raise awareness, funds, inform and educate the American public on the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), and its presence here in the U.S.  Angela Peabody, the Executive Director was able to successfully convince the other board members to approve the event.  It was agreed that the event had to be a success in order to make it an annual affair.  The Directors debated back and forth as to what the 5K should be called.  Several names were thrown out, and they eventually voted on “Walk To End FGM”.  The planning committee began its work for their first big event.  It became a learning experience, working with the National Park Service, engaging service providers, attracting sponsors, inviting speakers and working out the required logistics.

On Saturday, November 8, 2014, a brisk morning, the “Walk To End FGM” was born on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  The members of GWPF shivered in the early morning, but the cold was not all that caused them to shiver; they were equally nervous for the success or the failure of the event.  They warmed up as participants queued in to pick up their t-shirts and give-away bags, and their guest speakers arrived.  They felt that even if fifty people turned out, they would consider it a success.  More than 250 participants turned out, and the support was phenomenal.  At their 2014 year-end meeting, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to make the 5K an annual event.

The Walk To End FGM took on a life of its own, as the organization began the promotion of the 2015 Walk.  Calls came in from people with questions about the event, and how to register.  The process became a little easier in attracting speakers and sponsors.  The fact that they had repeat sponsors and supporters in the second year told them that people were pleased with the Walk To End FGM.  There was a much larger turnout in 2015 by women who had experienced FGM.  Inquiries came in about the possibility of the Walk being held in other cities in the U.S. as well as in countries such as Kenya and the U.K.  In 2016, the Walk To End FGM took another step forward when many of their partners joined them on the Washington National Mall.  The 2016 event was even larger than the year before, with participants from various countries in Europe and parts of North America.  It was the first year that the Walk To End FGM had hosted an international audience.  The 5K Walk continued to grow in 2017 and 2018, especially with an increase of international participation from parts of Europe, the U.K., and Africa.  

Now GWPF finds itself in preparation for the sixth Walk To End FGM, with this year’s projected to be another successful one.  This October 19th, the organization will again be joined by several of its partners on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to make their voices heard; that the practice of FGM has no place in the U.S. and other parts of the world.  This year, the pre-walk program has some great surprises.  The day will be emceed by Dr. Wallicia Gill, a member of the Board of Directors of GWPF. 

GWPF has encouraged the 5K Walk participants to form teams and join in the fundraising efforts to support the FGM survivors, and help protect girls from undergoing FGM.  The three teams that raise the most amounts will be presented with first, second and third prizes.  Participants are expected from various parts of the U.S., Canada, Europe and the U.K.  The pre-walk program is expected to begin at 12:00 Noon, and the actual 5K Walk will commence at approximately 1:30pm.  Participants will begin claiming their t-shirts and giveaway bags at 11:00am.  The participants can look forward to a day of excitement, learning and awareness.  Even if you are not a walker, you will find the pre-walk program of interest.  Speakers will be announced in within a few weeks.  To be a part of the day, visit the site at https://www.globalwomanpeacefoundation.org and scroll down to the pink button, Register to Walk.    

Here is How You Get Involved and Participate:

  • Form a team and invite others to join your team and help raise funds
  • Join a team that is already formed
  • Register as an individual participant
  • Register as a virtual participant and help raise funds (if you are unable to attend)
  • Sponsor a team or an individual participant or sponsor the event
  • Be a Partner Organization with Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation in the Walk to End FGM
  • Register as a volunteer

Volunteers are needed:  GWPF is in search of volunteers for their 6th annual Walk to End FGM in the nation’s capital on Saturday, October 19, 2019.  Volunteers’ responsibilities are: Arrive early, set-up tables and chairs, handle on-site registration, t-shirt and bag distribution, oversee donations, supervision of the tables, coordinate pre-walk program, seat speakers and guests, coordinate photo-ops and pre-walk interviews.  GWPF invites their volunteers from previous years to join them this year.  The volunteers did a great job last year.  All volunteers will have free registration for the 2-day event.  If you are interested in being a volunteer for the 2-day event of the Walk To End FGM, send an email to info@globalwomanpeacefoundation.org  and put in the subject line, “Volunteer” or call (703) 832-2642. 

Comments and questions to info@globalwomanpeacefoundation.org or call (703) 832-2642

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