About This Project

WHY achieved wide acclaim and was featured on Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4. More importantly from the young women’s point of view, the radio project began a shift in perception within the communities involved: it brought about real and growing change and has given a voice to people who had previously felt unable to speak on the subject.

This project involved a group of 14 young women from BME backgrounds researching and holding interviews to find out more about FGM (female genital mutilation). They used this material to make this compelling and moving drama documentary for radio. All the young women are between the ages of 14 and 16. 5 young men helped and supported them – they not only agreed to be interviewed about the subject, but one also acted in the programme.

Listen to this radio show


By the end of the project, over 30 young women were attending the interviews and it is clear that much more work is needed to put an end to this harmful, degrading practice.

The young women chose radio as a medium because they felt it would allow themselves, as well as Somali interviewees, a greater degree of privacy. They interviewed a selection of critical people who answered many of their questions. The interviewees included an Imam, to share the truth about FGM and Islam; Hilary Cooling, a medical doctor, to learn about the short and long term risks involved in the procedure; Sarah McCulloch, a known expert on this subject; a group of Somali young men; Amina Ahmed, a Somali mother and grandmother; Hannah Buckley, the government FGM coordinator and Dave McCallum, Chief Detective Inspector, Somerset Police, who clarified the legal position. The young women then wrote a script in which they embedded the interviews.

The young women’s aims included raising awareness, making it possible for young people from practicing communities to voice questions and to speak more openly about their concerns regarding FGM; dispelling negative stereotypes about young people and being proactive in making positive changes to their communities. They also wanted to find out why so little is done to effectively protect girls from FGM.