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Awards and achievements

Viva la Vulva wins UCL best new student project!

IMG_20150604_194206Viva La Vulva has had a fantastic nine months, and to cap it all we’ve won UCLU Best Newcomer at the recent Volunteering Services Unit award ceremony.

Nine months ago, we were a ‘passion’ project seeking to bring together clinical staff and medical students who wanted to fight FGM. Since then, we’ve transformed into a group of zealous and proactive individuals working together on a raft of new initiatives.

Our first big venture was developing a programme of teaching sessions aimed at raising awareness on sensitive topics such as FGM, sexuality, abortion and body image. We delivered the programme at a local school in King’s Cross and received rave reviews from teachers and students alike. We’re delighted that the college has asked us back next year, inviting us to run even more sessions.

International Women’s Week was filled with great events at UCL, including a Viva La Vulva-hosted comedy evening featuring controversial stand-up comedian-cum-political activist Kate Smurthwaite. Kate had us crying with laughter and gasping in shock at her outrageously funny and provocative stand-up performance. By the end of the evening, we think the audience have left with a bit more about knowledge about vulvas than they’d bargained for!

We also did an audit investigating whether healthcare workers in A&E departments felt properly trained to talk about FGM, and our results showed just how ill-equipped some healthcare professionals feel. To help improve matters, a training video has been developed to help staff discuss the subject with patients. In a similar vein, the group has written and produced a clinical skills video demonstrating how medical students can effectively discuss FGM, thereby helping the next generation of doctors talk about FGM in an open and sensitive way.

IMG_20150527_194435Two of our members have also found themselves on the Lancet global health blog after writing a post that raised awareness of FGM as well as Viva La Vulva’s work.

All of our members have worked extremely hard this year and we’re very proud of how far we’ve come. We still have a long way to go, though, in the fight against FGM, and we hope that any contribution we make can help add momentum to a powerful revolution. Come join us; Viva La Vulva!

Dr Jayne Kavanagh, MBBS Ethics and Law lead j.kavanagh@ucl.ac.uk 

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