Against my will: A collaborative effort to end gender inequality

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><a rel="noopener" href="; target="_blank">United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)</a> has published its State of the World Population 2020 paper. <em>Against my will: Defying the practices that harm women and girls and undermine equality</em>, has contributions from many important figures focused on improving female prospects globally through a combination of determination and ongoing action.United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has published its State of the World Population 2020 paper. Against my will: Defying the practices that harm women and girls and undermine equality, has contributions from many important figures focused on improving female prospects globally through a combination of determination and ongoing action.

Front cover of State of World Population 2020: Against My Will

Rhobi Samwelly tells her harrowing story of experiencing near fatal female genital mutilation and seeing it kill her friend, and how this galvanised the founding of Hope for Girls and Women and the team’s ongoing work. Rhobi is featured from page 67 of the report.
There is a wealth of important information about gender inequality within the document.  We were therefore keen to share it as a wider reading resource for those campaigning for an end to FGM and those interested in learning more about this and other practices that aim to prohibit the rights of women.

The full report can be downloaded via the UNFPA site from the button below:

Improving the impact of our data

‘Female Genital Mutilation’ and ‘data visualisation’ might not be two terms that you would immediately put together. However on June 1st, the Viz5 team and did just that. Their global community of data enthusiasts were challenged to help communicate some of Hope for Girls and Women’s critical stats through a range of different visualisation techniques. 

Created by: Priya Padham

Data can, at times, be quite impenetrable and dry. Being able to identify a logical flow and narrative using data visualisation techniques on a webpage, presentation or report, can help the information become more digestible and intuitive for the audience. According to,  ‘the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.’ 

Created by: Liam Spencer

As part of the monthly #Viz5 data visualisation challenge, the team featured data from Hope in an effort to support our advocacy work and raise awareness of the fight to end FGM. There were so many great data visualisations produced! These were reviewed by Eva Murray, Technology Evangelist & Tableau Zen Master at Exasol and Seth Cochran, Founder & CEO at

  • You can see and hear the feedback they provided here.
  • The shortlisted visualisations are also available to view here.

Hope has a relationship with the Viz5 team through our association with the Tanzania Development Trust and Crowd2map. They have supported with our data collection and mapping of Tanzania, and were keen to use their platform to help us drive awareness around the challenges we face with FGM and the support we provide through the safe houses. Viz5’s passion comes across in the feedback session – we look forward to collaborating again soon!

To read more about the outstanding efforts and this important collaboration, please find the Viz5 article here.

Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (CPH:DOX)

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Canadian filmmaker Giselle Portenier’s new documentary ‘In the Name of Your Daughter’ about our director Rhobi Samwelly’s work to end FGM premiered this past March at the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival! The premier was attended by over 200 people, followed by two more screenings with Q & A sessions and screenings for students at Virum Gimnasium and St. Joseph’s Catholic Institute. Rhobi along with two girls featured in the film, Rose Makori and Neema Chacha, were able to travel to Copenhagen with Giselle to attend the screenings.

Below is a trailer of the film, which also played at the NorthwestFest Documentary & Media Arts Festival in Edmonton, Canada earlier this month.


Rhobi says what she enjoyed most about their trip to Copenhagen was meeting so many different people interested in learning more about FGM, including the ambassador of Canada to Denmark Emi Furuya, the Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs, and MP Trine Bramsen. The film’s positive reception has encouraged her to continue working hard to help communities in Mara and she said that many people in Denmark were surprised parents could do such a practice to their children.

What Rhobi found most surprising about the trip was learning during a Q & A session after the film that male circumcision isn’t a social norm in Denmark, unlike in many parts of Tanzania. In addition to speaking out against FGM at village community outreach events, Rhobi also encourages boys to get circumcised in hospitals rather than as part of traditional Kuria initiation.

International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March and raise awareness of the importance of gender equality, we held an event in Nyansurura in collaboration with the local Serengeti District government. Five girls staying at our safe house in Mugumu were presented with sewing machines at the event. These girls are in our vocational training programme and will use the  machines as part of their training. After they complete their training and are safely able to return home, the girls will take their sewing machines with them.

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Our social worker Neema Meremo

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The event’s slogan was “To head for an industrial economy, we should strengthen gender equality and women’s empowerment in villages”.

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The event’s guest of honour, District Administrative Secretary Qamara Cosmas, can be seen here presenting a sewing machine.


Celebrating 16 Days of Activism

The annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign originated out of the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 at Rutgers University in the United States. One initial goal of this campaign was to emphasize that violence against women is a violation of human rights. This point seems obvious today, but was a matter of contention at the time.

The American feminist and founding director of the Center for Global Leadership at Rutgers, Charlotte Bunch, argued in 1990 that, ‘despite a clear record of deaths and demonstrable abuse, women’s rights are not commonly classified as human rights… The narrow definition of human rights, recognized by many in the West as solely a matter of state violation of civil and political liberties, impedes consideration of women’s rights’. The two-week long institute and its campaign against gender-based violence sent a powerful message that issues such as rape, female infanticide, genital mutilation, compulsory sterilization, forced marriage, and discrimination against girls are violations of human rights.

To celebrate 16 Days of Activism in December 2017, we officially opened our safe house in the village of Kiabakari in the Butiama District and organized a march against gender-based violence. Girls from the new Butiama safe house and students from Kukirango Secondary School marched together to raise community awareness.


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Here Rhobi Samwelly, our Director, speaks to the crowd at the opening celebration.


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Rev Canon Francis Sender addresses the crowd. Behind the table stands Titus J Kamwaga (acting as District Executive Director), Dickson Mwandala (acting on behalf of the District Commissioner), and Major EP Mkama (head commander of the Kiabakari Tanzania People’s Defence Forces).

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This banner reads: Safe Houses Are One Strategy To Fight Gender-Based Violence and FGM.


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This banner proclaims: Butiama Without Gender-Based Violence Is Possible.


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This banner asks: How Will You Take Steps to Empower Girls to Stay in School?


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These young men hold a banner declaring: Wage War Against FGM, Educate the Girl Child


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Men played an active role in the march. Dickson Mwandala and Major EP Mkama are shown here leading the way.