Tag: #16 days

Movema's Sankofa Bird leads Savera UK's 5k to End HBA march through Liverpool city centre

Savera UK marches through Liverpool against ‘honour’-based abuse

Movema's Sankofa Bird leads Savera UK's 5k to End HBA march through Liverpool city centre
Movema’s Sankofa Bird leads Savera UK’s 5k to End HBA march through Liverpool city centre. Credit: Gary Lambert

Last week, to mark the start of the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based abuse, Savera UK, Zonta Club London and supporters marched through Liverpool city centre in protest against ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

Ahead of the march there were speeches from Savera UK CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim, Dianne Jeans from Zonta Club London and Merseyside PCC, Emily Spurrell, as well as the reading of Melika’s* story – a survivor supported by Savera UK.

After a moment of reflection, when the names of those lost to gender-based violence and ‘honour’-based abuse were read out, the march began, led by Movema’s stunning Sankofa Bird, performed by Angelina Able.

The Sankofa Bird is one of four birds from Movema’s ‘Taking Flight’ production, which have been inspired by their artists’ experiences of migration and informed by the refugee and asylum seeker communities with who they work.

‘Taking Flight’ explores birds’ and humans’ desire for freedom and flight, and the role of modern aeronautics to enable this, with the four symbolic birds to represent futuristic cyborgs, whose bodies are part aircraft, part bird, part human.

The concept of “Sankofa” is derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of Ghana, West Africa. Visually and symbolically, “Sankofa” is expressed as a mythic bird that flies forward while looking backward with an egg (symbolising the future) in its mouth.

It teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone, or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved, and perpetuated.

Movema’s Sankofa Bird combines the symbolism of “Sankofa” and the design of passenger aircraft and was selected to support the message of the march – one of belonging, overcoming struggles and adversity and freedom.

Hundreds of people were engaged by the march and performance, before the group joined the vigil for Liverpool’s Lost Women, led by Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service, Amadudu and RASA Merseyside, in a show of solidarity and commitment to tackling gender-based violence in the city and around the world.

The march marked the start of the annual global Orange the World campaign and start of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, which takes place between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls on 25th November and Human Rights Day on 10th December.

Several civic buildings and landmarks also illuminated orange in solidarity with the campaign, including the Liverpool Town Hall, the Cunard Building, St George’s Hall, World Museum in Liverpool, Greystone Footbridge in Knowsley, the Mersey Gateway Bridge in Halton, Merseyside Police Headquarters and Wallasey Town Hall in Wirral.

Savera UK’s campaign will continue throughout November and December, with the charity inviting people to do a #5KForThe5000 and help raise awareness and funds to help it continue its work campaigning, educating, and advocating for and supporting survivors: https://register.enthuse.com/ps/event/5KtoEndHBAFundraisingEvent

Savera UK and Zonta Club London’s “Orange the World” toolkit, which contains information, resources and ideas for speaking out against gender-based violence and abuse, can also be found here: https://www.saverauk.co.uk/orange-the-world-campaign/

*Melika is a pseudonym

Culture is Beautiful: No Excuse for Abuse

Event | Culture is Beautiful: No Excuse for Abuse 2021

Date: Thursday, 9th December

Time: 4pm – 6pm

Location: Online, registration essential


As part of the Orange the World 2021 campaign, Savera UK and Zonta London (a member of Zonta International) will be holding a panel event titled ‘Culture is Beautiful: No Excuse for Abuse’. Panelists will discuss tackling the harmful ways that culture is wrongly conflated with human rights abuses against women and girls.

Speakers will include; Nazir Afzal OBE, former Chief Prosecutor for the North West (UK) and Savera UK patron, Dr Leyla Hussein OBE, a psychotherapist specialising in supporting survivors of sexual abuse,  Dr Elham Manea from Zurich University, a political scientist specialised on the Arab Middle East and Mansi Mehta, Deputy Director, Global Cause Partnerships from UNICEF USA.

Also speaking will be Afrah Qassim, Savera UK CEO and founder and Britt Gustawsson of Zonta International.

The event will also share the voices of survivors and there will be an open Q&A session where attendees can put their questions to the panellists.

Meet the speakers


Ngunan Adamu, BBC Radio Merseyside presenter/producer

Ngunan Adamu is a BBC Radio Merseyside presenter/producer for the Upfront Show. She is the founder and CEO of iWoman, a programme which helps unemployed women in the region develop the skills and confidence to get into media, and has also been involved in training other journalists for the BBC World Service and worked on the BBC Young Reporter programme.

Find out more about iWoman here: https://www.iwoman.co.uk/


Mansi Mehta, Deputy Director of Global Cause Partnerships at UNICEF USA

Mansi is the Deputy Director of Global Cause Partnerships at UNICEF USA, she is a partnership development and public health professional. In her current role, she works to build partnerships with organisations whose mission and vision align with that of UNICEF and UNICEF USA. One of these organisations is Zonta International who since 2014 is supporting the UNFPA-UNICEF Global

Program to End Child Marriage.

Previously, Mansi worked at the Earth Institute of Columbia University on various health and education-related programs with a focus on empowering girls in sub-Saharan Africa through information, communication and technology. She has her Masters in Public Health and her undergraduate degrees are in Biology and Policy Studies


Dr. Elham Manea, Associate Professor at the Political Science Institute, University of Zurich

PD Dr. Elham Manea is a Privatdozentin (equivalent to Associate Professor) at the Political Science Institute, University of Zurich, a writer and human rights advocate. Her research focuses on

countries of the Arabian Peninsula, especially Yemen, Gender and Women under Muslim Laws; and Islamism. In 2010 she was appointed by the Swiss Federal Council as a Member of the Federal

Commission for Women Affairs and in 2020 at the Federal Commission for Migration, where she serves as a vice president. She has published academic and non-fiction books in English, German, and Arabic in addition to two novels in Arabic.



Nazir Afzal OBE, Savera UK Patron and Former Chief Prosecutor for North West England

Nazir Afzal OBE is the Patron of Savera UK and the Former Chief Prosecutor for North West England. He is an expert in de-radicalisation and a senior British lawyer who campaigns on issues

around child sexual exploitation and violence against women. He is also the author of The Prosecutor, a “searing insight into the justice system and a powerful story of one man’s pursuit of the truth”.


Afrah Qassim, CEO and Founder of Savera UK

Afrah is the Founder and CEO of Savera UK, a leading national organisation tackling the causes and effects of harmful practices including ‘honour’-based abuse, female genital mutilation and

forced/child marriage. Afrah is also the Chair of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF).


Britt Gustawsson, Treasurer of Zonta Club London

Britt Gustawsson is a long-standing member of Zonta International, presently Treasurer of the Zonta Club

London and member of the Zonta International Nominating Committee. She is active in the UK CSW Alliance, which organizes civil society in the UK before and during the Commission

on the Status of Women (CSW). She has had a long career in senior management in privately owned multinational companies both in Sweden and the UK, and has worked globally in risk management, compliance and dispute resolution in multiple jurisdictions.



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