Church Mission Society partner receives MBE for work to end female genital mutilation

Dr Ann-Marie Wilson

Church Mission Society (CMS) has praised one of its partners after she was included in the King's New Year Honour list for her work to end female genital mutilation (FGM).

Dr Ann-Marie Wilson received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to the prevention of violence against women and girls. 

She is a mission partner of CMS and founder of the charity, 28 Too Many, which has carried out extensive research into the prevalence of FGM. 

Dr Wilson, who was was diagnosed with incurable non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2015, has spent years collecting over 3,000 survivor stories and creating resources for advocacy towards ending the horrific practice. 

In addition to her work with the charity, she is an adviser to the UN, World Bank and Metropolitan Police on the issue of FGM. 

She has dedicated her life to stamping out FGM in 28 countries where the practice is prevalent and recently succeeded in having it outlawed in Sudan after the 2020 publication of a legal report by her charity, 'Sudan: The Law and FGM'.

The report raised awareness about the scale of FGM in Sudan, affecting an estimated 87 per cent of girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49.

Following the release of the report, FGM was banned in Sudan and is now punishable by up to three years in prison.

2022 marked the 10th anniversary of 28 Too Many. In the 10 years since its launch, it has achieved a 10 per cent reduction in FGM across 10 countries and has published over 120 research reports examining laws on the practice and calling on European governments to take action.

Debbie James, Church Mission Society's Deputy CEO, said it was "wonderful news" that Dr Wilson had been honoured with an MBE.

"She has shown remarkable dedication to the cause of anti-FGM campaigning. Her faithful service has highlighted a huge injustice and impacted the lives of thousands of women and girls," she said. 

The Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen, a former Executive Leader of CMS, called Dr Wilson "truly inspirational".

"In the face of significant challenges she has been an indefatigable campaigner, faithfully pursuing God's call to champion the rights and dignity of some of the world's most vulnerable women," he said.

"I'm in awe of all she's done and this honour is a fitting and hugely well-deserved recognition."