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Orchid Project today announces Asenath Mwithigah as its new CEO, effective from 15th June 2022

Asenath Mwithigah will be leading the Orchid Project team from Orchid’s office in Nairobi, Kenya and joining the existing Kenyan team whilst working closely with Orchid Project’s UK team.  She will strengthen Orchid’s Project’s programmes, partnerships, advocacy, research and movement building in the Global South whilst continuing to build on Orchid’s global commitment to the rights of women and girls and a world free from female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C). She will draw on her broad geographical experience spanning Africa, MENA, Asia & the Americas. 

Asenath Mwithigah will bring her deep commitment to the rights of women and girls to Orchid Project’s vision of a world free from female genital cutting (FGC).  She is a Gender and Communications Specialist with 14 years’ experience in leading, designing, developing, implementing and monitoring high-level programming on effective approaches to ending harmful practices including female genital cutting and Child, Early and Forced Marriage. 

 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 while strengthening legal systems and social movements to address societal prejudices that hinder women and girls from realizing their rights and accessing justice. 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 while ensuring alignment of programmes to the overall UNFPA transformative results, the national priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals. Asenath 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.

Asenath says:

I have dedicated over a decade to  hands-on field focused design and  implementation of programmes and interventions aimed at addressing negative gender stereotypes and norms, elimination of harmful practices, and promotion of gender equality. I have had the privilege of working with a broad range of stakeholders and interventions from diverse angles. I am excited to be joining Orchid Project and to be able to lead a team that is deliberately focused at programmes aimed at ending FGM/C and thrilled to bring on board perspectives from the community level to the policy makers in ensuring that we have a viable, adaptable and responsive programmes focused on protection and promotion of women and girls rights, while involving men and boys in championing change, and in ensuring that women and girls thrive and develop to their full potential and contribute meaningfully to national development objectives and in delivery of sustainable development goals.

Cécile Belaman, Orchid Project’s Board Chair commented:

We are delighted to welcome Asenath Mwithigah as CEO of Orchid Project. We value her experience in the advancement of human rights across the world and look forward to working together on ending Female Genital Cutting.

Global Campaign Launch – Close the funding gap to end Female Genital Cutting #whatsthegap

We launched our global campaign ‘What’s the Gap?’ on the 15th November at the start of the 16 days of activism 2021. It will run to Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation day on the 6th February 2022 and beyond. The aim of the campaign is to highlight the real funding gap in development assistance for ending female genital mutilation.

  • The total amount needed to end Female Genital Cutting 2020-2030 is $2.4 Billion `
  • The projected amount available to spend in 2020-2030 as development assistance at the country level is $275 Billion.
  • The new investment needed in 2020 – 2030 (The Gap!) is $2.1 Billion
  • The average cost of preventing one case of female genital mutilation is $95

Just before Christmas the UNFPA- UNICEF launched the theme for Zero Tolerance day as ‘Accelerating Investment to End Female Genital Mutilation’  #investdontrest – adding that ‘if global efforts are not significantly scaled up, the number of girls at risk of being subjected to FGM will be higher in 2030 than it is today’. The mirroring of our campaigns means that this is an burning issue which all of us need to highlight globally in order to bring about the end of female genital cutting.

Join our campaign

Our partners and community organisations know better than anyone the affect that a lack of funding has not only for the impact you can have at community level but for the movement to end Female Genital Cutting or mutilation as a whole.

We are asking for videos from different organisations working to end FGC to say how much of an impact the lack of development assistance funding has on our sector. We want as many people as possible to make videos saying which open with ‘ what’s the gap?’ and then a 1 minute or less answer which highlights how better funding would improve your ability to make change and end FGC.

All you need is your phone

And you have the equipment needed to make a video. We would like you to film yourself for 1 minute or less talking about what your organisation would do if it were better funded.

Please start by introducing yourself and your organisation and say where your organisation is based.

Please ask yourself out loud the question ‘What’s the Gap?’ on the video

Then answer with whatever you feel is the greatest funding gap and what better funding could do for your organisation.

Please end with a clear ask – ‘Scale up global funding to end female genital cutting/mutilation’

 It could be you in a quiet room with someone filming you head-on (or your phone balanced on some books at face level so that the angle is straight on to your face). We would also be happy if you filmed yourself ( or someone else filmed you) walking through your community as a more action documentary style commentary. It’s up to you. We don’t want to be too prescriptive but just remember that we would like to be able to hear your voice properly. You could also decide to have two people from your organisation in the same video but remember that we have to keep it to a minute or less so that we can put it out on the different social media platforms. Send to us via sophie@orchidproject.org 

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Orchid Project today announces Asenath Mwithigah as its new CEO, effective from 15th June 2022

Asenath Mwithigah will be leading the Orchid Project team from Orchid’s office in Nairobi, Kenya and joining the existing Kenyan team whilst working closely with Orchid Project’s UK team.  She will strengthen Orchid’s Project’s programmes, partnerships, advocacy, research and movement building in the Global South whilst continuing to build on Orchid’s global commitment to the rights of women and girls and a world free from female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C). She will draw on her broad geographical experience spanning Africa, MENA, Asia & the Americas. 

Asenath Mwithigah will bring her deep commitment to the rights of women and girls to Orchid Project’s vision of a world free from female genital cutting (FGC).  She is a Gender and Communications Specialist with 14 years’ experience in leading, designing, developing, implementing and monitoring high-level programming on effective approaches to ending harmful practices including female genital cutting and Child, Early and Forced Marriage. 

 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 while strengthening legal systems and social movements to address societal prejudices that hinder women and girls from realizing their rights and accessing justice. 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 while ensuring alignment of programmes to the overall UNFPA transformative results, the national priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals. Asenath 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.

Asenath says:

I have dedicated over a decade to  hands-on field focused design and  implementation of programmes and interventions aimed at addressing negative gender stereotypes and norms, elimination of harmful practices, and promotion of gender equality. I have had the privilege of working with a broad range of stakeholders and interventions from diverse angles. I am excited to be joining Orchid Project and to be able to lead a team that is deliberately focused at programmes aimed at ending FGM/C and thrilled to bring on board perspectives from the community level to the policy makers in ensuring that we have a viable, adaptable and responsive programmes focused on protection and promotion of women and girls rights, while involving men and boys in championing change, and in ensuring that women and girls thrive and develop to their full potential and contribute meaningfully to national development objectives and in delivery of sustainable development goals.

Cécile Belaman, Orchid Project’s Board Chair commented:

We are delighted to welcome Asenath Mwithigah as CEO of Orchid Project. We value her experience in the advancement of human rights across the world and look forward to working together on ending Female Genital Cutting.