What we do
In the UK and Nigeria WCCH is dedicated to ending FGM. We do this through advocacy and by raising awareness using seminars and workshops and digital media platforms, among other methods. All our efforts are supported by research.
Our commitment to campaign against FGM and raise awareness of this harmful practise is informed by our understanding that it is happening in the UK and Nigeria, even though it is illegal in both countries and despite tremendous efforts to end it in the past decades.
FGM and other gender based cultural practice occur within particular contexts, characterised by gender inequality and poverty. Women and girls are not only exposed to the adverse effects of unequal power in sexual and marital relations, and the health consequences thereof, but they often lack access to quality education and training, healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene. In countries where harmful gender based harmful practices are prevalent, the risk of mothers and their babies dying during labour are high.
To that effect WCCH engages local communities and works with professionals and experts to increase access to quality education and training, and healthcare for women and children. We provide school fees and learning kits for the poorest children, and arrange for sponsor extra lessons during evenings and weekends. We also fund skills training for women and girls, and provide solar lamps for evening study, a situation currently not obtaining in many rural areas in Africa,
To optimise health outcomes WCCH runs health education campaigns and support local healthcare facilities providing equipment where appropriate.
Who we are
We are public health professionals based in the West Midlands, UK. We all gained public health experience in Africa and/ or the UK. What unites us is a desire for better health for all, especially the most vulnerable groups in the community, of which women and children constitute a majority.
We want to support girls achieve optimum health and grow into confident, healthy women who can make healthy, happy babies, who would grow into healthy adults and ultimately healthier communities. We came together as WCCH to play our part in achieving this vision.
We are guided by public health principles and the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals .
We serve populations in the United Kingdom, Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. We work in areas where we feel we will have the most impact and achieve our desired goal of better health for the community. Our vision is to accomplish the following:
to end all forms of gender based discrimination, domestic abuse and violence; and early and forced marriages
to end FGM in all its forms in the UK and Nigeria
to reduce preventable maternal and child deaths in Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe
to increase access to quality education and healthcare for women and children in deprived African communities
to increase access to clean, safe and adequate water and sanitation facilities for women and children in disadvantaged rural areas
Our WASH initiative
We fund and support provision of clean water including repairing and drilling boreholes. We build toilets for families, schools and clinics in rural areas and educate communities about hygiene and dangers of unsafe water.
Why we do what we do
Our vision is driven by our understanding that multiple related factors and deficiencies create barriers to women, girls' and children's health, hence our comprehensive approach to dealing with these obstacles.
Take for instance FGM and WASH. Unequal economic and social power is at play here. FGM is about men exercising power over women, WASH inadequacy keeps women down.
In WASH deficient areas women and children, especially girls, often walk over 6km and many hours to collect water, putting them at risk of sexual assaults and abductions, for example.
The distances travelled and time spent fetching water takes stamina and time mothers need to care for their families and do productive work while girls have less time and strength for school work. Girls may even miss class or drop out of school due to lack of sanitation facilities at school or in order to help their families fetch water.
It is thus clear that WASH deprivation worsens women's poverty and increases their powerlessness, creating a pool of women who are subjected to and cannot challenge harmful gender based practices like FGM.