200 million women - that is the staggering number of women who have undergone female genital mutilation, known as FGM. The horrifying cultural practice is being carried out in at least 28 countries in Africa and across the world today. One charity is using technology to combat the human rights abuses around the world, allowing teams to work more efficiently in their mission to eradicate FGM.
In 2005, Ann-Marie Wilson was working for an international aid organisation in West Darfur, Sudan when she first came across FGM. She met an 11-year-old girl in a refugee camp who experience the abusive procedure at just five years old.
Wilson was so moved by this girl’s story that she wanted to find out more about FGM and what could be done to prevent it happening to other girls. During five years of training and research, Wilson discovered the horrifying extent and implications of FGM. She also learnt that despite the brave work of anti-FGM campaigners in some countries, there was little or no support for women who had undergone FGM, and no effective programs to eradicate the practice and protect future generations of girls.
Dr. Wilson founded 28 Too Many in 2010 to research FGM in the 28 African countries where it is practiced, and to encourage and support local interventions to support those affected and accelerate the eradication of this harmful practice.
Today, the mission has grown into an award-winning non-profit with teams and volunteers working together around the world.
A large part of the work of 28 Too Many is to research, produce reports and spread information and awareness on the current status of FGM and women affected by it.
Recently, the team produced its largest report yet, FGM in Nigeria, which will help activists, campaigns and organizations around the world to build more effective programs that eliminate FGM practices and protect girls and women.
Operations Director, Sean Callaghan, says organizing the work behind projects of this magnitude, with teams in different time zones, used to be a juggling act.
“I have to be a massive multi-tasker — but there comes a point when you simple have too many balls up in the air.”
Callaghan tried many systems and software apps to find one that would allow him to organize and visualize huge projects and international teams.
“I have lived by task lists my whole working life — in the old days big sheets of paper on the wall — more recently GoogleTasks, Asana, BaseCamp, FreedCamp, Slack — but none of them gave me what I was looking for. Then I came across Taskworld — I could break my role down in multiple projects and each project into sub-projects and each of those into specific tasks — and they could be sorted and reordered and viewed — that is exactly what I was looking for.”
Now, with Taskworld, Callaghan says he can stop focusing on tools and focus on the important work of 28 Too Many.
“Taskworld gave me a place to put all the balls down in an orderly fashion and to pick them up as needed. It also saves a lot of trees as I no longer have those papers on the wall. Seriously, just getting the stuff out of my head and onto the system and then being able to track progress (both my own and my team’s) is an enormous time and brain power saver.”
When working to eliminate FGM, time is of the utmost importance and Callaghan says with Taskworld, his teams can get that back.