Get to know Angela Peabody, the Founder of Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation (GWPF) and the meaning behind P.E.A.C.E.
Tell us about your organization.
Ten years ago, Angela Peabody, the Founder discovered that female circumcision, which was rampantly practiced in her native Liberia, was the same as female genital mutilation. Angela took action, and along with her sons, established a 501c3 nonprofit organization, Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation (GWPF), based in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.A in 2010.They founded the organization based on the principles of ending violence and injustices against women and girls. The mission of the organization is to empower women and girls through education to help eradicate gender based violence, especially FGM/C. The acronym P.E.A.C.E. stands for People Everywhere All Created Equal.
How is your organization working to end female genital mutilation in the United States?
The organization spreads awareness through their annual Walk To End FGM, their monthly newsletter with a readership of 10,000, publications, training of law enforcement in the community, training of school nurses and teachers, and presentations at churches and community centers. The programs of the organization are the Kids Reach Shield Program (prevention); Survivor Resettlement Program (rehabilitation); and the Wholesome Organic Relief Program (rehabilitation), and Just4You Program (international prevention). The advocacy reaches to state level as well as federal, in helping to get legislation passed against FGM/C.
What are the challenges and opportunities in trying to end female genital mutilation?
The biggest challenge is lack of funding to grassroots organizations such as GWPF. When funding opportunities arise, the small organizations that do a great deal of the work against this issue stand no chance in competing with the large organizations that already have relationships with the government. Another challenge is raising awareness to the American public, and convincing them that this problem exists here and it is not an African, Middle Eastern, and Asian problem. GWPF has spent the last 10 years raising awareness through the Walk To End FGM and training. The other challenge is getting the survivors to come out and speak about it because when it is done to them, they are charged with secrecy, never to divulge what happened to them, otherwise they will die.
How is the network helping you to achieve these goals and why is it important to be in the network?
GWPF was one of the founding member-organizations of the Network. The network has always supported GWPF’s events and programs. The organization has watched the network grow into an effective entity in the FGM/C world. One of the positive attributes of the network is that it helps to connect like-minded organizations. The network also informs its members about available funding, and it is an important role for the network.
We can end female genital mutilation in the United States because we are doing the work necessary to end the practice. We are educating the public and those on the frontlines of the girls’ lives, such as teachers, school nurses, social workers, leaders in the community, law enforcement, and faith leaders. Education is the key to ending the practice of FGM/C. We need FGM/C to be included in the school curriculum for all students. More available funding is needed to equip the advocates and activists with what is required to train, educate, and inform.
Learn more about GWPF.