For decades, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has promoted the abandonment of female genital mutilation (FGM); an extreme violation of the rights of women and girls, and a manifestation of deeply entrenched gender inequality.
With 68 million girls at risk of being mutilated by 2030, UNFPA had to reach beyond its usual audience in the development community and break into mainstream culture to increase public awareness and generate greater political support to end FGM.
UNFPA enlisted the help of international filmmaker Sara Elgamal to produce A Piece Of Me, an awe-inspiring short documentary series that leverages the power of film and fashion to showcase the stories of three FGM survivors in Ethiopia’s Afar Region.
Over the course of the past year, film screenings paired with immersive art installations took place at cultural hubs in major cities around the world:
Each screening and installation brought together more than 200 influencers from across the global arts, activism, film, media, fashion and humanitarian communities.
These remarkably successful activations became major drivers of conversations online and led to significant global coverage in previously unreached media and publications.
Concurrently, an interactive site (unfpa.org/APieceOfMe) in multiple languages (English, French and Spanish) served as the online hub for the short films and global campaign.
This site provided more context about FGM and enabled audiences to take action to help end this human rights violation, including sharing original campaign content on social media channels and signing up to join the global movement to end FGM.
Meanwhile, to emphasize the urgency of ending FGM, the films and global campaign launched at the start of “cutting season” when the school break in July, August and September means girls around the world have time to undergo and recover from FGM.
By purposefully breaking away from the campaign approach and cinematic style associated with human rights issues, A Piece of Me took the conversation to the next level and made the global movement to end FGM more mainstream than ever before.
With more than 5 million people reached online and mainstream media coverage in Elle, Fader, Nowness, Global Citizen and more, A Piece Of Me has become the most successful film and global campaign on FGM in UNFPA’s 50-year history.
The film was screened alongside an immersive installation at the United Nations Headquarters to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on 6 February, 2020. Ambassadors from various UN Member States (including Sweden, Norway, Ethiopia, Egypt and Italy) were in attendance and they pledged their commitment to the elimination of female genital mutilation by 2030.
A Piece Of Me recently won the 2020 Webby Award for Best Use of Video or Moving Image and was selected for the Women In Film & TV Toronto (WIFT-T) Showcase 2020