The Webby for Good, produced in partnership with WP Engine, is a showcase of Webby-honored projects and campaigns that are promoting social good in the world.
Describe your project. What is it, what was the elevator pitch?
ActionAid needed get more people talking about the uncomfortable subject of female genital mutilation (FGM). To highlight this most brutal of cuts, we created a #BrutalCut of our own: video messages from Kenyan girls facing FGM, unexpectedly cut into content by vloggers, influencers, and publishers.
What key challenges did you face with this project? And how did you overcome them?
While the UK is comparatively progressive in gender representation and civil liberties, most UK vloggers and influencers are often reluctant to back sensitive issues that may cause controversy. Especially those influencers with younger audiences. FGM especially it is considered an ‘adult’ issue, due to the frightening nature of the practice. And so we needed to approach influencers with slightly older millennial audiences. And give them an ‘ask’ that’s simple to do, and doesn’t demand for them to take on a particularly editorial stance on the issue.
What was the most rewarding aspect of working on your project?
The project has already helped to secure at least £250k of funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery, which will help build community safe centers to protect girls from FGM. It’s rare to work on a project that is so life-changing.
When working on this project, what were some of the most important conversations you had with your team?
Ensuring the content was authentic was a challenge (there was a risk the films wouldn’t be as strong in the local dialect), but the films had to be from the girls affected. We interviewed FGM survivors and women’s rights workers from ActionAid Kenya to ensure we communicated this issue with cultural sensitivity. It was the Kenyan local shorthand—referring to FGM as a “cut”—that inspired the idea.
What did you learn from working on this project that you didn't know going into it? Did anything come out of it that surprised you, or that you weren't expecting?
The sheer volume of conversation this sparked. While there was the expected trolling, there were surprisingly positive, heartfelt, and prolonged conversations across social channels, from a variety of young people who have never previously considered issues like these.
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