Leyla Hussein

Campaigner tackling gender-based violence through humor and frankness with a touch of therapy

Leyla Hussein Co-Founded or Daughters Of Eve which is a non profit organisation set up in 2010 which works to protect girls and young women who are at risk from female genital mutilation (FGM). She is also Chief Executive of Hawa’s Haven which is a collective of Somali women campaigners and community activists who have come together to raise awareness about gender based violence particularly in Somali communities in the UK and the horn of Africa .She is also the newly appointed Community facilitator at Manor Gardens and recently completed a 1 hour documentary film with channel 4 “ The Cruel Cut” on FGM in the UK.

Leyla Hussein has over 11 years of experience in working with women/girls who have undergone Female Genital Mutilation, she has a background as a youth outreach worker and recently has been working as an Independent Training Consultant specialised in FGM. She works now as community facilitator at Manor garden Health advocacy Project and partnered with Maya center, to set up set up a support therapy group for FGM survivors “Dahlia’s Project”, the only existing group in the entire EU. Leyla sits on the trustee board for The Special FGM Initiative Advisory Group and Naz Project London.
Leyla is a qualified psychotherapist and she has recently started working as a Counsellor supporting survivors of sexual violence and other vulnerable children and adults. She practices at a local school.

Leyla Hussein has completed her Post Grad diploma in Psychotherapy in 2010. Currently named for BBC 100 women of 2013.She has been awarded Cosmopolitan Ultimate campaigner Women of the Year Award 2010, in 2011 she won the Emma Humphrey Award ,The Lin Groves Special Award for her work in raising awareness of violence against women and children. Also awarded the 2012 True Honour Award “by the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Right organisation for recognising her work on preventing honour based violence, protecting victims/survivors and bringing perpetrators to justice

She works closely with the Young Africans and Friends (YAF) group, formed by youth working together to tackle issues that are considered taboo in African communities such as HIV/AIDS and female genital mutilation.
In 2005, as part of the Somali youth forum (SYF) Leyla organised a massive conference that gathered over 400 people as a response to the backlash against Somalis in the UK following the devastation of the London bombings. As young British people of Somali origin, the SYF wanted to portray a more positive image of their community and showcase the talent and contributions of young Somalis.

Leyla Hussein is very passionate about supporting young people and strengthening their voices. Her achievements include:
She runs saviour groups for women/girls who have undergone female genital mutilation ( Dahlia’s Project).
Due to her work with young people, Leyla has been awarded the Ambassador for Peace Prize by the Inter-religious and International Peace Federation. Ambassadors for Peace are individuals who dedicate themselves to promoting universal moral values, strong family life, inter-religious cooperation, international harmony, renewal of the United Nations, responsible mass media, and the establishment of a global culture of peace.

She was invited to Downing Street twice by Mr and Mrs Cameron to take part in International Women ‘s Day alongside high profile British women

Leyla Hussein has spoken at many national/international conferences.

She works very closely with the Metropolitan Police (Project Azure).
In July 2008 she won the Primary Care Trut , “The breaking down barriers award”.

L. H. acts as advisor of the END FGM - European campaign which is supported by Amnesty International, Ireland.

As a strong voice of END FGM - European campaign, she has spoken at the houses of parliament of Vienna, Cyprus and London.

L. H. has been invited to speak on Somali issues on several local, national and international television and radio news programmes including the BBC world radio service, World has your say, BBC Today and Five Live, Universal TV (Somali TV), Channel 5, Al Jazzeera, Islamic channel, BBC 24 and took part in a dispatches documentary on refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.

Featured on a glossy ”Look” and Cosmopolitan magazine and National/local Guardian.

L. H. has visited Senegal (Dakar) as a UK leader on an Interaction Leadership Programme which is an innovative programme of learning, great conversations and action in leadership by committed people of all ages who are passionate about Africa and leadership.
L.H. also sits on the committee Board for Naz Project London organisation and The FGM imitative advisory board UK.
The Girl Generation - Let's End FGM Once and for

The Girl Generation - Let's End FGM Once and for All

11 October, is the International Day of the Girl Child. I can think of no better way to mark this important day than by the launch of The Girl Generation, the Africa-led global campaign to end FGM in a generation.
12/10/2014 19:50 BST
Girl Summit Wasn't Just a

Girl Summit Wasn't Just a Celebration

And now for something completely different: a (mostly) serious and (mostly) optimistic blog. On Tuesday the 22nd of July the Prime Minister David Cameron hosted the first International Girl Summit to mobilise support for the fight against FGM and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM).
04/08/2014 16:16 BST
Men Versus

Men Versus FGM

Hold onto your horses, this is not a men-bashing blog; I just want to offer some (hopefully) constructive criticism on why many men shy away from discussing FGM and all other forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG)... Before you attack me, I'd like to make it clear that I don't believe all men are guilty from shying away from such conversations and I certainly don't believe that all men who do avoid them condone FGM and other forms of VAWG. The point I want to make is that men need to recognise they have a responsibility to fight against such practices.
17/04/2014 16:50 BST
My Pledge: 'I'm a Woman, Hear Me

My Pledge: 'I'm a Woman, Hear Me Roar'

I have the privilege to share my thoughts whether it is out of anger, frustration or happiness. Although theoretically I've always known this is a privilege, I have only now understood how precious this freedom is. In my recent work, I met women and girls who cannot think freely, let alone speak out...
07/03/2014 17:23 GMT
Marking V-Day , FGM and

Marking V-Day , FGM and Sex

The same way I have come across women who have had type 3 FGM and can enjoy sex, I have come across women with type 1 who are terrified of it. FGM is an act of sexual violence and its emotional impact cannot be separated from the physical so easily.
14/02/2014 09:29 GMT
Cruel Cut Aftermath, Space For FGM

Cruel Cut Aftermath, Space For FGM Survivors

Today we Mark FGM Zero Tolerance Day - 6 February is a reminder that female genital mutilation is a global issue; it should not, however, be the only day we remember that. Sadly, every minute five girls undergo FGM. If it takes you a couple of minutes to read this blog, by the time you're finished 10 girls will or more have been irreversibly mutilated.
06/02/2014 09:32 GMT
Acknowledging the

Acknowledging the Violence

I want to say a massive thank you to all of you who supported our epetition and helped us reach over 100,000 signatures. The great British public stood with survivors and recognized the importance of this campaign. You have spoken out to say that FGM is child abuse and one of the worst forms of violence against women and you have asked the Government to put an end to it.
27/01/2014 00:26 GMT
My Love

My Love Letter

The only man who ever wrote me beautiful letters was my dad, when we first moved to the UK and he was stuck back home in the Somali civil war, may his soul rest in peace. But for years I joked that I could use a love letter from a man proclaiming undying devotion... So I decided I should make the first step in proclaiming my love. Not towards Prince Charming, of course, but towards myself.
09/01/2014 09:40 GMT
FGM: A Muslim

FGM: A Muslim Issue?

The making of <em>The Cruel Cut</em> documentary was one of the most challenging tasks I've ever undertaken in my anti-FGM campaigning. My aim has always been to teach the British public the effects of FGM, and how we should all make sure we protect our girls from this vile practice. I feel we achieved that and much more. But the response from the less well-intentioned viewers was to say, 'this is a Muslim issue.' It made me think. Had my message implied that FGM was purely an Islamic affair?
23/12/2013 01:18 GMT
When Is It a

When Is It a Choice?

If an African girl wanted FGM we would be outraged, and rightly so. Why would we cut girls to control their sexuality and satisfy men? We can all agree on this. Yet when a girl from a non-FGM practicing community wants to be cut, trimmed or tucked we're told it's her choice. Aren't both examples of cultural coercion? Are we saying one happens to adults and the other to children? To some extend, that's true. But there are nine-year old girls, accompanied by their mothers, asking for cosmetic surgery on the NHS. Girls with normal genitals. Confused? Me too.
08/12/2013 22:46 GMT
The Biggest Threat to Society - The

The Biggest Threat to Society - The Clitoris

So why, despite all the talk and the years of work, is FGM being ignored by the UK government? Why is it not discussed in the same way any other form of child abuse is? After 11 years I have come to this conclusion: We, the British, refuse to engage in conversation on race, sex and gender; our inherent conservatism gets in the way of having an honest discussion on this subject. Because FGM only affects women and girls, it's practiced to control female sexuality and primarily affects black children, it's not to be discussed.
25/11/2013 09:41 GMT