Black Women's Health & Family Support (BWHAFS) exists to raise awareness about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other health and social issues affecting black people. The aim is to support disadvantaged women, children and families in the UK and around the world from Somali and other vulnerable communities.
BWHAFS is a registered Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee, established in 1982 by a group of women from Somalia. The primary area of concern is promoting the eradication of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
However, we believe that work in this area can only be effective when understood within the overall context of black women's health and this holistic method has led to a broad scope of work by the organisation, encompassing grassroots projects which support and empower women and their families in the United Kingdom, as well as influencing policy making at the highest levels.
In this wide ranging approach, we differ considerably from many other organisations working in the area of FGM, in that we have direct contact with the grassroots of the FGM practicing community, at the same time as carrying out valuable networking and lobbying work. Our strong relationship with the community is constantly reinforced through the nature of the activities and projects developed by the organisation, enabling us to constantly monitor their concerns and to maintain a cultural sensitivity and respect towards them whilst trying to eradicate the practice of female genital mutilation.
Since the inception of the organisation, we have somewhat shifted the direction of our work from that of the well-being of women as a whole, to formulate programmes that are more culturally specific to the Somali community and to the eradication of female genital mutilation.