Savera UK Youth Led Conference was a Success
By Shauna from Savera UK
Savera UK successfully held the first ever youth led conference around harmful practices in the North West. The conference was unique in allowing young people to lead on issues around forced marriage, female genital mutilation and honour based abuse to their peers. They developed the idea of the conference, thinking about what elements they wanted to create this valuable 3 hour conference.
After Savera UK took part in UK Parliament Week for the first time last year by holding the Savera UK Question Time event at Calderstones School with a group of students, it was clearer than ever that education would be the key to spreading and raising awareness around harmful practices within the younger generation. It was also clear that peer to peer education was a great way of engaging young people. With this in mind, Savera UK developed a Youth Programme, starting with a small group of young people to educate them about harmful practices in order to create a conference by young people for young people.
The young people decided that they wanted a Q&A session, poetry and a survivor to speak at their conference. Alongside the conference, the young people worked on a film project which taught them writing and camera skills in order to create a hard hitting film about harmful practices. It was the bold choice of the young people to make this film interactive, creating an Instagram account (@trapptbride) that would act as their main character’s profile who is being forced to marry. This would allow people to relate to the character and follow her story. The conference acted as the final scene of the film, the wedding venue where people were invited to take part and #StopTheWedding. This hashtag was used to allow people to join the conversation on social media on the lead up and during the conference. This interactivity tied the conference and the film project together and encouraged shared conversation and social action. Even with the final scene being shot at the conference, the film was successfully launched and received an incredible response from the audience. The film will be available to view within the next few weeks.
The young people worked so hard to produce this conference and worked with Nonconform to give feedback and develop the branding for the youth project. This has helped us launch the Savera Youth section of our website: http://www.saverauk.co.uk/savera-youth/. This part of our website will be a place to showcase all the work that the young people have done and build on future projects.
Groups of young people, schools and professionals attended the conference. The speech from Savera UK Patron Nazir Afzal OBE was as compelling as always and Savera UK Founder Afrah Qassim’s speech on Harmful Practices was emotional as she passionately expressed the need for multiagency work in order to prevent more people being harmed by these horrific practices. The conference was also an opportunity for the new Savera UK Ambassador Maya Jama to speak about her involvement in the charity and also tell her own story about her background. The young people were especially enthusiastic with Maya’s involvement and she will be a great ambassador for the Savera UK cause.
The young people selected the type of people they would want to attend their conference Q&A panel, wanting to make sure they covered all bases with their representatives. The panel included:
The panel answered tough questions produced by the young people and took questions from the audience.
Savera UK are delighted with the event and proud of all the young people that took part and made it happen, they are the future and we must work to inform them of harmful practices as they are the key to preventing it from happening in future generations.