Launching in Berlin

Thursday 21 December 2023

Orchid Project has a bold and ambitious vision of seeing a world free from female genital mutilation/cutting. We want to catalyse the movement to end FGM/C by generating and sharing knowledge, enabling collaboration and uniting actors to influence global commitments. And we want to do it now. But such bold ambition must be met with funding to carry out our objectives.

In the view of increasing our fundraising activities and reach, our long-standing supporter, Zielke GmbH, offered to help us in setting up an office in their native Germany. Zielke GmbH has engaged with Orchid Project for a long time as well as Dr. Andreas Zielke personally donating funds to support our work. They felt that they could do more for the movement to end female genital mutilation/cutting, so they teamed up with Orchid Project, with the aim of multiplying funding through their Networks, German-based Trusts and Foundations and the wider German public.

After 12 months, we launched Orchid Project Germany, our new office in Berlin, in November 2023. Beate Golembowski, the now Managing Director of Orchid Project Germany, led this process, from creation to launch and will continue to volunteer her time to make this venture a success. Not only does this new office mean that we will be able to reach new donors, but also that the tax implications of Brexit will not affect donors from mainland Europe. We will be working very closely with Orchid Project Germany (which is single-handedly run by volunteers) on fundraising activities, proposals, meetings and events with the aim that we can increase our income overall and give the movement to end FGM/C a new public voice in Germany. This will aid us in being better placed to reach our new ambitious 5-year strategy with great success.

On Thursday 23rd November at the BMW Foundation offices, which were kindly offered for free for the purposes of the event, we were joined by around 30 participants in Berlin. This included embassy staff, stakeholders, Orchid Project UK and Germany staff, potential donors, Trusts & Foundations and friends and family.

Speeches were made on the issue of FGM/C and its impacts on girls worldwide, how Orchid Project Germany aims to support our work through fundraising, and the details of Orchid’s overall 5-year strategy. Participants then had the opportunity to ask questions to our CEO, Asenath Mwithigah, Senior Research Advisor Ann-Marie Wilson, our Board Co-Chair Delphine Rive, as well as the project spear headers, Zielke GmbH and amongst other staff members. It was wonderful to see so many interested people in the room asking questions about how FGM/C interventions can help end the practice, and what they can do to help.

Dr. Andreas Zielke pictured speaking at the launch event

In the words of Dr. Andreas Zielke: “I was quite happy to see the make-up of our audience: big foundations like Gates or Hasso Plattner, financial advisors with great multiplication and reach, public services and NGOs, all networking around one topic: how to accelerate ending FGM/C.”

CEO Asenath Mwithigah also spoke to the fundamental impact the Berlin Office will have on Orchid’s growth, “it gives me so much joy to see Orchid Project’s global reach expanding to new heights every day, with now a brand-new office in Berlin. Our growth can only mean that ending female genital mutilation/cutting is finally becoming a global priority and within our reach”.

We’re forever grateful for the support of our partners in Germany and we look forward to this collaboration furthering our journey towards ending FGM/C.

To find out more about Orchid Project Germany, click here.