About Us

Orchid Project is an international NGO, with offices in Nairobi and London, working at the forefront of the global movement to create a world free from FGM/C. At the heart of our mission are grassroots organisations that are pioneering change, and by working together, one step at a time, we believe we can help to end FGM/C globally.

Together, we can create a world free from FGM/C.

Asenath Mwithigah

Asenath joins Orchid Project from Equality Now where she was the Global Lead – End Harmful Practices (FGM/C & Child Marriage). In this role, she provided thought leadership and strategic direction to the end harmful practices programme and led the team in designing and developing effective and sustainable approaches on ending FGM/C and child marriage.
Prior to joining Equality Now, Asenath worked as the Programme Analyst for United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Kenya Country Office implementing the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the abandonment of FGM and was seconded to the Anti Female Genital Mutilation Board, Kenya as the Technical Advisor to the CEO. In this role, she was in charge of all programming on national and community Level interventions for prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence and Harmful Traditional Practices at the UNFPA Kenya Country Office and provided technical and strategic guidance to the Government of Kenya’s Anti FGM Board, other state and non-state actors.
Asenath’s wealth of experience in ending FGM/C spans over a decade having developed and implemented national and regional programmes including the FCDO Phase I programme, the Girl Generation as the Social Change Communications Manager in ten African Countries and being the founding member of the Youth Anti-FGM Network-Kenya, a movement of young people working towards abandonment of FGM.

Read More
Dr. Ann-Marie Wilson MBE
Senior Research Advisor

Dr Ann-Marie MBE, is a psychologist with over 30 years’ experience. She founded and led
the anti-FGM charity, 28 Too Many (www.28toomany.org) for the last 12 years, which focussed on anti-FGM research, producing over 100 reports in that time. Apart from managing a database of some 60+ countries, the research generated creation and
management of a global network of contacts and partners; capacity development
and resource production, enabling advocacy, supported by strategic communications.
Dr Ann-Marie successfully steered a merger with Orchid Project earlier this year, in liaison with the boards of both charities. As a global Expert, Ann-Marie continues to work closely with UK and overseas governments, NGOs and UN bodies and has delivered numerous papers, posters and talks on FGM-related issues. 28 Too Many has published anti-FGM research reports on 28 countries across Africa, 30 on the Law
and FGM, and 33 on FGM in the Diaspora. The Charity remains an Associate Member of the UN Inter African Committee.
Prior to founding 28 Too Many, Dr Ann-Marie worked in humanitarian aid for over 20 years in 14 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia; Middle East and the FGM diaspora across the US and Europe.
Before this, whilst in strategic human resources, complex change and marketing in Blue chip companies, Dr Ann-Marie graduated in Business, Cross Cultural Studies, and Psychology, holding degrees in each. Having run her own NGO and Charities Consultancy company, she also gained much governance, strategy and leadership
skills and experience. As a board member of seven charities, she has been responsible for diverse strategy, fundraising, global health and anti-FGM pioneering projects over the last few decades.
Ann-Marie is on expert panels with the Metropolitan Police, Child Abuse Linked to
Faith and Belief (CALFB), and the World Bank. She frequently reviews academic papers and lectures on FGM alongside related topics.

Her book, Overcoming – My Fight Against FGM, was published in 18 June 2021.

Read More
Anush Aghabalyan
Head of Policy and Advocacy

Anush joined Orchid Project in June 2021 from her role as the Director of Global Campaigns at the United for Global Mental Health. Prior to that, Anush spent 7 years at the largest voluntary organisation for girls and young women, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) as the Head of Advocacy and External Relations. In WAGGGS she led the global advocacy work and the oversight of the global Stop the Violence campaign that reached over 70 countries. Her previous roles were mostly within the United Nations family, focusing on gender equality and labour migration. At Orchid Project, Anush oversees policy, advocacy and communications work. She is passionate about girls’ rights and empowerment and social justice.

Read More
Sean Callaghan
Head of Research and Capacity Strengthening

With over 30 years of experience in international development, Sean has worked with the highest levels of leadership, consulting with clients across Africa, the Middle East, the European Union and the United States. Over this time Sean has developed extensive social capital – a global network of trusted local partners.

Sean is now leveraging this social capital to bring proven real-world expertise, invaluable grassroots access and experienced impact pathways to research projects. Working at the nexus between practice and theory, the resulting interdisciplinary collaborations have the potential to produce high-quality knowledge that can shape programming and inform policy.

Sean is also a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Sean’s research explores FGM/C in diaspora communities.

Read More
Brenda Dora
Advocacy and Policy Manager

Brenda Dora is a human rights lawyer with a cumulative eight (8) years technical experience
and expertise in Child Protection; Child Rights Governance; Policy Advocacy and Influencing
in Ending Harmful Cultural Practices; Partnerships, Coalition Building and Government
Engagement; Gender Rights Activism; Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health.
She joins the Orchid Project from Africa Capacity Alliance where she was the Policy and
Advocacy Advisor and her role was centred towards working with civil society organizations,
coalition partners, consortiums, and networks on how to leverage on national, sub-regional,
regional and global advocacy spaces to strategically influence and shape public policy in the
promotion of children’s rights with specific focus being Ending Female Genital
Mutilation/Cutting and Child Marriage. 
She considers herself a womanist who is passionate about women and girls, and is
proactively engaged in initiatives that advance the rights of women and children.

Read More
Ewelina Goralczyk-Obel
Finance Assistant

Ewelina Joined Orchid project in March 2022, but before joining the company she used to work in accounts/finance sector.

Ewelina started her finance journey as a finance assistant where she learnt a variety of skills, including financial management, budgeting and forecasting, balance sheet reconciliation, and month-end closure of accounts.

In her role as Finance Assistant at the Orchid project, Ewelina has become an integral part of the Finance team. Mostly supporting Finance & Ops Manager in the daily functions and providing expertise in administration

Read More
Danica Issell
Lead Editor

After working in various capacities in law firms for 15 years, in both Australia and the UK, Danica sought a more rewarding and philanthropic career. She studied English & Creative Writing and Media & Cultural Studies at the University of Chichester, then began editing for the research arm of 28 Too Many (now part of Orchid Project) in 2015.

Danica specialises in writing and editing pieces related to the media and social sciences; however, she has also edited manuscripts (including the occasional romance novel!) and a variety of other texts on theology, marketing, the music and publishing industries, high-control groups, and – a subject that hits close to home for her – health and disability. She has a particular desire to promote media literacy, evidence-based practice, and the sharing of knowledge and learning.

Read More
Macharia Karanja
Programmes Manager

Macharia is a development and social sciences professional with over fifteen years’ experience in developing, managing, monitoring and evaluating national, regional and international programs in the areas of gender and youth equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights and civil society strengthening.
Prior to joining Orchid Macharia worked as National coordinator for the youth anti FGM network coordinating youth led NGOs, CBOs, and activists in the 22 hotspot counties where FGC is prevalent in Kenya. He has vast experience in managing comprehensive and integrated gender and youth advocacy projects targeting vulnerable girls, women and young people. The programmes are aimed at addressing issues around violence against women and empowering them on poverty alleviation initiatives. Over the years he has assisted in mobilizing for networks and have coordinated programmes between Kenya, Norway, Kuwait, United Kingdom, East Africa, West Africa and southern Africa regions.

Read More
Hassan Khan
Head of Finance and Operations

Hassan, a Chartered Certified Accountant; FCCA, started his career with a firm of Accountants and then moved into industry, Commerce and Charity sector in Management and Finance roles. A commercially astute, qualified accountant who effectively combines proven technical knowledge with considerable cross-industry experience. Hassan has worked at senior level at SME’s within Industry, the not for profit sector, in welfare/disabilities charities and Arts/Education sector. Specialises in improving the quality and accuracy of financial information with expertise in change management, improvements in processes and procedures and system implementation to bring efficiency to operations. Hassan is passionate about human rights and social injustice.

Read More
Anne-Marie Morin
Research Analyst and Translation Coordinator

Anne has been translating or coordinating translations for 28 Too Many (part of Orchid Project) since 2018. Above all, she is passionate about change and strongly believes words and analysis can be powerful agents. She has worked, raised a family, or lived in six different countries in Europe, Asia and North America. She is focused on child education both at a local and global level and has personally experienced various gender norms across the globe. She is extremely responsive to how one can learn from each other both at an individual and group level, and how one can reconcile societal concepts with a thriving life.

She graduated in International Trade, including one year at Oxford Brookes University, and worked for a multinational company in an industrial sector. She is also currently involved in fighting for the return of forcibly transferred children and is keen to write reviews in the graphic novel world in her spare time.

Read More
Kirigo Njenga
Advocacy Officer

Kirigo Njenga joins Orchid Project as Advocacy Officer to support the Africa Led Movement in influencing policy to end FGC through global advocacy, capacity building, technical support, and research.
Prior to joining Orchid Project, Kirigo was the Africa Coordinator at 28 Too Many, where she was responsible for supporting research and influencing policy on harmful practices at regional and national level. She was also involved in building the capacity of grassroot organisations in using evidence to inform advocacy and programming towards ending FGC.
She comes from a background as a human rights lawyer, researcher and policy and advocacy professional with over 10 years’ experience in litigation, policy development and capacity building in the areas of gender, women, girls and children rights.
She is passionate about human rights, gender equality and ending violence against women and girls.

Read More
Fiona Peart
Head of Development

Fiona joined Orchid Project in January 2022 from her role as Senior Trusts Manager at Leonard Cheshire. Here, she spent 6 years fundraising and managing grants from Trusts & Foundations to support children and adults with disabilities in Asia and Africa to access education and employment. Prior to that, Fiona spent 4 years at WaterAid as Programme Funding Officer for East Africa, where she worked with governmental donors to increase access to water, sanitation and hygiene in East Africa. Her previous roles include fundraising at organisations focusing on human rights, environmental rights and children’s rights. At Orchid Project, Fiona oversees all fundraising activity. She is passionate about children and girls’ rights as well as gender empowerment.

Read More
Kwesi Quartey
Finance and Operations Manager

Kwesi is the Finance and Operations Manager (Maternity Cover) at Orchid Project. He is enthusiastic about human rights and was inspired to join Orchid Project in its mission while exposed to such issues at work at the Red Cross and alongside the International Committee of the Red Cross. He was also part of the co-chair BAME committee at the Redcross.

Before joining Orchid Project, Kwesi worked as the Head of Operations for an executive coaching company but has a background in Financial Services in legal & corporate immigration

Kwesi is responsible for leading the project financial management, compliance and control, day-to-day orchid project finances and overseeing orchid project partners on aspects of budget management.

Read More
Shannon Thomson
Research Manager

Shannon has worked in international development since 2010 working primarily with civil society organisations around themes of health, economic empowerment and gender-based violence. Shannon has a particular interest in participatory research and community mobilisation approaches that harness local knowledge and enable action at the grassroots. She is passionate about creating learning resources and accessible information for activists and practitioners to enable them to make use of evidence to increase their impact.

Shannon holds an M.Sc. in Health, Community and Development from the London School of Economics.

Read More
Birgitte Zachau Handwerk
Fundraiser and COO for Orchid Project’s Danish association

Birgitte heard Julia, Founder of Orchid Project, speak when Orchid Project was still not officially an NGO. Birgitte was inspired by Julia’s vision of a world free from FGC, and so helped set up Orchid Project and later on started the Danish association of Orchid Project with a group of like-minded Danish supporters. Birgitte has been part of developing Orchid Project’s strategy and projects from the beginning and has been fundraising for and visiting programmatic work in Kenya and Senegal since 2011. Apart from being Orchid Project’s representative and spokesperson in Denmark, Birgitte works as COO for a Danish Conference agency. Birgitte holds a Masters in accounting and auditing and has worked in the advertising business for many years.

Read More
Alice Bourg
Fundraising Officer

Having recently joined the Orchid Project team as the new Fundraising Officer, Alice is very excited to be joining the dedicated team to work together to end FGM/C. Before joining Orchid Project, she completed her MSc in Humanitarianism, Aid and Conflict at SOAS University in London and worked as a Fundraising and Communication’s officer for a small NGO called Ceasefire Centre for Civilians Rights. She’s always been passionate and had the desire to work in an impactful sector, particularly to bring about change within human rights, gender equality and gender-based violence.

Read More
Beate Golembowski
Managing Director for Orchid Project Germany

Beate serves as the Managing Director of Orchid Project Germany. The organisation was founded together with Andreas Zielke in 2023 in order to support Orchid Project’s activities more comprehensively. In working with philanthropies, Beate highly values a comprehensive community-based approach, an orientation towards measurable impact, and financial transparency. She is committed to supporting the end of FGM/C and the improvement of living conditions for women and children.

Beate has held a variety of managerial positions at McKinsey for 22 years and joined Zielke GmbH in 2016. Beate has been a supporter of women’s causes all her life and has been involved with several organisations in this field for many years.

Read More
Natalie Roberts
Communications Lead

Natalie joined Orchid Project in August 2023 from her role at Peace Direct as Communications Officer working closely with women’s rights organisations that were working to build peace and support women recovering from conflict. Here she worked on co-developing ethical content collection processes with partner organisations and has extensive training in this area. Prior to this, Natalie worked at the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, helping to spotlight the stories of grassroots organisations and working with youth led organisations. Natalie has an MSc in International Crimes, Conflict and Criminology and is a LLB Bachelor of Law. She is passionate about gender empowerment and women’s rights.

Read More
Winnie Kiprotich
Communications Officer

Bringing a decade of experience, Winnie specialises in health and environment communications, with a passion for advocating for the sexual reproductive and health rights of women and girls. Prior to joining Orchid Project, she consulted with organisations such as Children in All Policies 2030 and United Health Futures, leveraging her expertise in digital strategies to implement impactful communication initiatives. She is the co-founder of Maternal Aid for Mothers in Africa (MAMA), a grassroots organisation that works with pastoralist communities to provide critical maternal and child health services and information. Additionally, she is one of the co-founders of the Kenya Women in Health Alliance (KWHA), an organisation dedicated to promoting gender-equitable and merit-based environments in the health sector.

Read More
Delphine Rive

Delphine was a Managing Director in Accenture, working across the UK and France. She recently stepped down from this role. She held a number of client roles in her 25 years career with Accenture, mainly focused on large scale transformation programmes and digital transformation in the High Tech sector.

Delphine has been a Trustee of Orchid project for 3 years. She spent seven months in 2022 as the Interim CEO for Orchid Project.

Read More
Joseph Ssentongo

Joseph is a Senior Director in the Analytics team at the Global Innovation Fund (GIF) where he focuses on the measurement of economic and social impacts of prospective and portfolio investments. He works across various thematic areas including gender-based violence, health and livelihood-creation for the poorest people in developing countries. He previously worked with the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF), where he led the evaluation of over 30 e-governance projects across 15 African countries. Prior to ICF, Joseph worked in the Gender division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations where he undertook assessment of gender inequalities in agriculture sub-sectors.

Read More
Dimiana Farag

Dimiana is an education strategist focused on social innovation, youth development, global citizenship, and inclusive entrepreneurship. She is a long time advocate for social justice and women, girls, and children’s protection and rights anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). She served as Vice-Chair on the Trustee Board of 28 Too Many, now a part of Orchid Project. She has worked with government agencies in the GCC, along with higher education institutions and NGOs in different geographies, with a particular focus on the EMEA region. Her work has included managing projects for USAID and US State Department, along with work developing startups focused on advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She is founder of Global Vision Impact Consulting, US-based firm and founding member of People of Impact, a Dubai-based company, a social network to accelerate advancement towards achieving the SDGs.

Read More
Cécile Belaman

Cécile is Managing Director with Bain Capital in London. Prior to this, Cécile was with Morgan Stanley for nine years, most recently as Head of Global Fundraising for the Private Equity Fund of Funds business. Cécile has also worked for the financial sponsors group at JPMorgan and at HVS International, and is a founding member of Level 20, a non-profit organisation that aims to inspire women to join and succeed in the private equity industry.

Read More
Jim Drummond

Jim is a senior development professional who was part of the UK Department For International Development (DFID) leadership team. He was most recently DFID’s Director for Western and Southern Africa and before that for South Asia. He has worked in India, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania and in senior positions in the Cabinet Office and Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Read More
Mette Hoffmann Meyer

Mette is CEO and Co-founder of The Why Foundation, a non-profit, Peabody Award-Winning organisation striving to ensure that all people have free access to independent information. Mette has worked with documentary film for nearly 30 years, and is the former Head of Documentaries and Co-Productions at the Danish public service broadcaster Danmarks Radio. She is now focusing on modern-day slavery through the campaign WHY SLAVERY?

Read More
Carole Presern

Carole is Head of the Office of Board Affairs at the Global Fund to fight AIDs, TB and Malaria. Prior to that she was the Executive Director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health based out of WHO, which she joined after working at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Up until 2008 she worked for the UK Department For International Development (DFID) and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). Carole has served on the Boards of the Global Fund, UNAIDS, WHO, and humanitarian agencies in her FCO/DFID role. She also served for many years on the Board of the HIV Alliance. Carole started her career as a nurse and midwife, working in a refugee camp on the Thai/Cambodian border. She has a PhD in Public Health Policy, and graduate education in Anthropology and Health Systems Management.

Read More
Carina Hirsch

Carina joins Orchid Project with over 10 years experience working with UN agencies and international NGOs. She is currently the Head of Advocacy and Policy at Margaret Pyke Trust, where she joined in 2015. She advocates on the importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and family planning in particular, not only to improve the health, well-being and lives of women and girls, but also as part of climate and biodiversity policy. She is the Co-Chair of the Biodiversity & Family Planning Task Force of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a member of IUCN’s Commission on Environmental, Economic & Social Policy and a Steering Committee Member of the UK SRHR Network. Carina brings to Orchid Project her passion for advocating for investment in women’s rights and health, including the elimination of FGM/C.

Read More
Alice Feldwick

Alice joins Orchid Project from Shell International Trading London, where she is the Structured Commodity Finance Lead. She has been at shell from 2008 where she has held various roles within the financial space. Alice has an educational background in Accounting, Finance and Economics. Alice also brings experience of being the Co-Chair Governor at Wallace Fields Infant School, where she works alongside the leadership team to ensure high standards of educational achievement and guides the strategic direction of the school. Alice is particularly passionate about the rights of girls and young women which led to her interest in Orchid Project.

Read More
Andreas Zielke

Andreas joins Orchid Project with over 35 years of international management consultancy experience, including almost two decades as a Senior Partner with McKinsey. He is now the owner and CEO of his own private company Zielke GmbH providing consulting services to automotive clients and holding interests in select small businesses.
Andreas has a passion for helping to end FGM/C and has committed his time and experience to doing so since 2020.

Read More
Hibo Aden
Women’s Rights Facilitator, ActionAid International Somaliland

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in April 2016

Read More
Hoda Ali
Activist, Nurse, Community Outreach Project Manager

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in March 2019.

Read More
Farah Dirie
Project Officer, Women's Action Advocacy and Progress Organisation (WAAPO)

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in April 2016.

Read More
Sister Fa
Performer and Activist

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in November 2016.

Read More
Christine Ghati
Activist and Founder of Safe Engage Foundation Kuria

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in March 2019.

Read More
Rena Herdiyani
Vice Chairperson, Kalyanamitra

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in April 2018.

Read More
Leyla Hussein
Psychotherapist and activist

Attended Tostan Training Center in January 2020.

Read More
Jay Kamara Frederick
Activist and Founder of SKiM Network

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in March 2017.

Read More
Sarian Kamara
Community Facilitator, Activist and Founder, Keep the Drums Lose the Knife

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in July 2016.

Read More
Shaheeda Kirtane
Co-founder, Sahiyo

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in July 2016.

Read More
Amos Leuka
Co-Founder and Project Manager, SAFE Maa

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in July 2015.

Read More
Lilis Listyowati
Chairperson, Kalyanamitra

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in April 2018.

Read More
Cess Mugo
Programme Officer, Education Center for the Advancement of Women (ECAW)

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in July 2015.

Read More
Beatrice Muiyuro
Finance and Administration Manager, COVAW

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in December 2018.

Read More
Florence Mwikali
Programme Officer, COVAW

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in December 2018.

Read More
Olachi Peace Ojimadu
Entrepreneur, activist and Programmes Assistant for Youth Network for Community and Sustainable Development

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in March 2019.

Read More
Natalie Robi - Werema
Executive Director and Founder, Msichana Empowerment Kuria

Participated in Mercy Corps GirlSPARKS training in 2018.

Read More
Hawa Sesay
Executive Director, Hawa Trust

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in July 2016.

Read More
David Shakai
Outreach Officer and Performer, SAFE Maa

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in April 2016.

Read More
Naserian Simpano
Outreach Officer and Performer, SAFE Maa

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in April 2016.

Read More
Bethel Tadesse
Founder of Hidden Scars

Attended the Tostan Training Center in January 2020.

Read More
Mariya Taher
Co-founder, Sahiyo

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in July 2016.

Read More
Hibo Wardere
Author and Activist

Participated in a Tostan Training Centre seminar in March 2017.

Read More
Julia Lalla-Maharajh OBE

Julia founded and was Chief Executive Officer of Orchid Project from 2010 – 2019. Prior to this she spent 18 years in the corporate sector, specialising in transport policy. In 2008, she volunteered in Ethiopia, where she came to understand more about the devastating scale and impacts of FGC. In 2010, she led a panel discussing how to end FGC at the World Economic Forum in Davos and then spent time in Senegal and The Gambia, visiting communities and seeing incredible change happening at the grassroots level. This community-level change inspired her to set up Orchid Project to meet the vision of a world free from female genital cutting. In 2017 Julia was awarded an OBE for her work to end FGC. In 2019, Julia chose to hand over the leadership of Orchid Project. She now divides her time between volunteering and consulting globally with social justice organisations whose work she admires. She is on the International Board of Voluntary Services Overseas and is Chair of Under One Sky, a UK homelessness charity.

Read More

Orchid Project Timeline

  • March 2020

    March 2020

    Launched the Asia Network to End Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) Consultation Report in collaboration with the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW).

  • February 2020

    February 2020

    Launched the Don’t Cut Her Short campaign on the International Day to End FGC 2020.

  • December 2019

    In partnership with the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, Orchid Project launched the Asia Network to End FGM/C (FGM/C).

  • November 2019

    November 2019

    Co-launched the Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C at the International Conference on Population Development in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • August 2019

    Grethe Petersen joined Orchid Project as our CEO.

  • February 2019

    February 2019

    3,000 Maasai came together on the International Day to End FGC 2019, through the work of SAFE Maa, to publicly declare an end to FGC.

  • 2018


    Responded to UK Department of International Development investment announcement on BBC News.

  • 2018

    Fed into work on ending FGC by the UK Department of International Development, which announced a £50 million investment.

  • October 2018

    October 2018

    Launched “Aissata’s true story: choosing a world free from FGC” animation and comic in partnership with Tostan and Positive Negatives.

  • 2018


    Held reception at the Canadian High Commission to the UK, marking the International Day to End FGC.

  • 2018

    Held panel event at the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women.

  • February 2017

    February 2017

    Julia Lalla-Maharajh received an OBE for services to supporting an end to FGC.

  • 2017

    Partnered with Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW), in Kenya.

  • May 2017

    117 communities in Senegal publicly declared abandonment of FGC, with support through Orchid Project and Tostan’s partnership.

  • September 2016

    September 2016

    Co-hosted parliamentary event in Ottawa, Canada, with Islamic Relief Worldwide, attended by Canadian Minister of International Development, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau.

  • July 2016

    Supported conference held by Ifrah Foundation in Mogadishu, Somalia.

  • July 2016

    Supported baseline study in Somaliland in partnership with Action Aid and Edna Adan Hospital Foundation.

  • July 2016

    July 2016

    Partnered with transnational grassroots organisation, Sahiyo, in India and the USA.

  • June 2016

    Began outreach to Canadian Ministers and Global Affairs, Canada.

  • June 2016

    Showcased partners’ work at European Development Days in Brussels.

  • May 2016

    Hosted event at Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

  • April 2016

    April 2016

    Julia Lalla-Maharajh gave TEDx talk at London Business School.

  • November 2015

    Held event and supported activists to attend Girl Summit in Zambia.

  • November 2015

    November 2015

    Orchid Project travelled to Senegal with Crown Princess Mary of Denmark to witness declaration of FGC abandonment in Kaolack.

  • June 2015

    Orchid Project’s Evidence Advisory Group was established.

  • March 2015

    Held event during the 59th Commission on the Status of Women in New York, highlighting FGC as an issue outside Africa.

  • February 2015

    February 2015

    Held event at the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York, with deputy chairs of UNICEF and UNFPA.

  • November 2014

    November 2014

    Held event in Danish parliament with ministers from Sweden, Norway and the UK.

  • October 2014

    Began lobbying for inclusion of indicator dedicated to FGC within the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • September 2014

    First Orchid Project Knowledge Sharing Workshop is held in Kuria, Kenya.

  • July 2014

    July 2014

    Held event at the UK Department of International Development at Girl Summit 2014 (Pictured: Activists Sister Fa and Jay Kamara Frederick).

  • June 2014

    Attended second Middle East and Asia Conference to End FGC in Istanbul.

  • March 2014

    Julia Lalla-Maharajh joined an advisory group to the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening MP.

  • February 2014

    February 2014

    Supported first declaration of FGC abandonment ceremony in Bamako, Mali through partnership with Tostan.

  • February 2014

    Held reception with Orchid Project Denmark welcoming US Ambassador to mark the International Day to End FGC.

  • January 2014

    January 2014

    Partnered with the Education Center for the Advancement of Women (ECAW), in Kenya.

  • 2013

    Worked alongside UK Department of International Development civil servants ahead of the government’s first investment into ending FGC of £35 million.

  • 2013

    Journalists from the London Evening Standard and The Times newspapers travelled to Senegal with Orchid Project, to witness communities publicly declaring abandonment of FGC.

  • 2013


    Partnered with grassroots organisation, S.A.F.E. Kenya.

  • March 2013

    Fed into work on ending FGC by the UK Department of International Development, which announced a £35 million investment.

  • 2013

    Held reception in House of Lords marking the International Day to End FGC.

  • December 2012

    Joined with global civil society supporting the UN General Assembly Resolution against FGC.

  • November 2012

    Presented a Theory of Change for ending FGC to 80 social development advisers at the UK Department for International Development.

  • 2012

    Gave evidence to Human Rights Council on FGC in Indonesia.

  • 2012


    Launched ‘Social Mobilisation Programme’ in partnership with Tostan in Senegal. (Pictured: Malick Niang, SMP lead, Tostan)

  • 2012


    Partnered with hip hop artist Sister Fa (pictured) to support artist workshop in Senegal.

  • February 2012

    Held reception in House of Commons marking the International Day to End FGC.

  • April 2011

    April 2011

    Orchid Project gains charitable registration in the UK and partners with West African grassroots organisation, Tostan.

  • January 2011

    Travelled to West Africa to witness communities declaring an end to FGC through the work of Tostan. Julia was inspired to set up Orchid Project.

  • January 2010

    January 2010

    Having won the “Davos Debates” YouTube competition, Julia took the issue of FGC to the World Economic Forum.

  • 2009


    Julia Lalla-Maharajh volunteered in Ethiopia and found out more about the extent and scale of female genital cutting around the world.