By Raveena Hargun
Utulivu Women’s Group held its annual conference on Sunday 10th July at the Hilton hotel Reading. Utulivu Women’s Group focuses on promoting health and wellbeing and positively integrating women into the wider community.
The conference also availed participants the opportunity to celebrate their achievements as individuals and in general as a community. Participant took the opportunity to discuss issues they face as a community in improving their wellbeing.
The aim of the conference was to discuss and strategise with the members on issues affecting them. These issues include Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), gender-based violence, support service provision among other promotional campaigns.
In the area of FGM the group works towards not only ending the practice but providing support to FGM survivors on how to cope with the effects within their communities through counselling and signposting.
Utulivu also partakes in the stride towards tackling gender-based violence by offering supporting and safeguarding services, awareness raising and training to tackle such acts of violence against women.
The group also supports individuals and communities through one-to-one and community focused support with activities aimed at improving people’s mental health and wellbeing.
On the other hand, Utulivu provides training on healthy family relationship, career progression, health, and wealth creation, raising awareness on the impact of drugs, alcohol, and knife crime among others.
Some of the feedback received on the day included the need for men to be included in FGM dialogue so as to increase their level of participation and contribution.
With such, the level of stigma, stereotype and victimisation will decline and would therefore add the level of confidence and support to survivors. Another feedback derived from the conference was to allow people talk about their culture and roots and embrace them.
According to the participants, nurturing culture, heritage, and tradition will help children understand their roots and Identity.
The conference also implored on participants to promote the concept of volunteerism among the youth by visiting the community centre on Oxford Road.
Creating a fan-based teen conference was among the deliberation so as to encourage and attract young people for more education on community-based participatory activities.
Utulivu offers several other ways of counselling services through online where professionals address issues of domestic violence abuse within the BAME and the African diaspora community as well as signposting.
The conference expressed the need to garner more funds to support refugees who are in dire need, and also to start a food bank in ACRE.
The feedback was well received and was seen as a way forward for the centre to understand what the people want and how they will work towards providing their needs. Most of the participants expressed delight in the way the AGM was held.