As the countdown to the Global Woman Awards and the Walk To End FGM begins, Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation (GWPF) is busying itself with preparations for their virtual 2-day event. Today puts the event about 73 days away from Friday, October 16th and Saturday, October 17th. It has always been GWPF’s hope that the Walk To End FGM would not only raise awareness for Americans, but would become a way to attract FGM survivors to come forward and receive help, and by sharing their stories. After all, without survivors and at-risk girls, there would not be a need for the Walk To End FGM. The reason why GWPF does the walk is because of those women, young and old who have experienced FGM, and the girls to whom it can be prevented from happening. It is all about the women and girls whose lives are affected by this archaic, heinous, atrocious, and unnecessary practice. The Walk To FGM is far more than a mileage walk or public gathering of speeches and awareness. It is about getting survivors to live their lives of post-FGM years in safety and confidence, without physical and psychological pain. It is also about little girls living in safety without the suspense of not knowing when the day arrives for them to be taken away to a cutter. GWPF wants to see the end to female genital mutilation, when there will no longer be a need for the Walk To End FGM.
In 2015, GWPF decided to honor 11 women who had made a difference in the lives of the women and girls affected by FGM. The idea became an annual tradition for the Walk To End FGM, and the following year, 12 women and a man were honored. In 2018, GWPF began a separate day for the Global Woman Awards. This year, the roster of honorees comprises of 4 men and 6 women, two of whom are a U.S. Congresswoman and a U.S. Congressman. With this year’s theme being “The Importance of Health, Wellness and Human Life”, two physicians are on the roster, sharing the Medical/Health award.
This year, both the Global Woman Awards and the Walk To End FGM will be held virtually through live stream broadcast. In order to accommodate the participants and viewers in various time zones around the world, the Global Woman Awards is scheduled at 3:00p.m., Washington, D.C. time, 8:00p.m., London time, and 9:00p.m., Geneva and Frankfurt time. The Friday afternoon program will be emceed by Tyra Garlington, an international talk show host. The Keynote Address will be delivered by Lyric Thompson, the Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). Also speaking that afternoon is Maryum Saifee, a women’s rights activist and FGM survivor, who is the 2019 Global Woman Award recipient in the category of Survivor Activist. For the first time in the history of the Global Woman Awards, entertainment will be included in the program. The audience is expected to be serenaded by U.S. Jazz Musician, Benjamin Jackson Caesar, and American Singer, Songwriter and Musician, Antoinette “Butterscotch” Clinton.
Emceed by Linord Moudou, another international talk show host, the pre-walk program on Saturday will begin at 10:00a.m., Washington, D.C. time. The Keynote Speaker of the morning is Former State Representative of Maine, Heather Sirocki. Following the program, the audience and participants will be asked to walk in their respective communities and take photos and videos, which they can post to GWPF’s Facebook page. The organization will later compile a collage of those photos and videos, as a memorial to the year of COVID-19 and the countless of lives affected and lost in 2020.
For more information about the 2-day event, the speakers, emcees, entertainers, and honorees, or to register as a walker or sponsor, please visit the event site at https://www.wizathon.com/walk2endfgm. GWPF is joined this year by a New York organization, SheFFA, so when you register, there is an option to register as a Washington, D.C. walker/supporter or a New York walker/supporter.