The Foundation for Women’s Health, Research and Development, (FORWARD) is an African Diaspora women’s campaign and support charity.

FORWARD’s objective is to fulfil the sexual and reproductive rights of African women and girls.

Our core values focus on protection, provision, participation and partnership.

FORWARD operates in the UK, Europe and Africa to facilitate change in practices and policies that affect access, dignity, rights and well-being of African women.

FORWARD aims to:

–       Prevent female genital mutilation, child marriages and related health violations and other forms of gender-based violence

–       Increase access to sexual and reproductive health services; human rights education and livelihood programmes for vulnerable girls and women

–       Improve the knowledge base of civil society partners and capacity to lobby governments and donor agencies for enabling policies and programmes

–       Enhance voice and leadership of Diaspora African women in shaping their well-being in UK and influencing development of girls and women in Africa

In the UK, their focus is the elimination of FGM among affected African communities. Core activities include:

–       Public education and training to statutory agencies to enable them to respond effectively to girls at risk of FGM and safeguard and signpost those living with FGM.

–       Provision of information, advice and advocacy services. Their researched-based advocacy work entails policy support and awareness raising campaigns.

–       Empowering women and girls: they work directly with women and girls to raise their voices, articulate their needs and exercise their rights through various trainings and a monthly support group.

FORWARD’s role within the consortium

FORWARD is part of Women Against Harmful Practices, a pan London grouping of eight organisations. Women against Harmful Practices will support 510 women to access services, obtain referrals, counselling, information, advice and support throughout London. During the course of this project, FORWARD will work pan-London with African women and girls at risk or affected by FGM to provide:

–       1: 1 advice and support in Somali, Arabic, English and French

–       Workshops with young women to promote peer mentor/youth advocacy

–       on peer mentoring/youth advocacy

–       Signposting and referrals to education/training opportunities

–       Printed and web based information

–       Presentations/workshops held in community settings

–       Translations/interpretation

–       Advocacy with statutory agencies

–       Workshops with professionals

Also, as part of the Prevention project, FORWARD is a member of the Healthy Relationships Drama project.

The Prevention project will deliver across all 32 London boroughs, an innovative and holistic response to gender based violence amongst young people aged 8-25. The project  through specialist workshops explores harmful practices, addressing gender stereotypes and deconstructing social acceptance of sexual and domestic violence.

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