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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

PhD student leads pioneering Kenyan project to help tackle FGM (female genital mutilation)

Published: 20 November 2014
Tracey Davies

Health Sciences PhD student and graduate neonatal nurse Tracey Davies will lead a specialist team of volunteers in Kenya to deliver a bespoke new project around Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).


Tracey will be working with charity Cricket Without Boundaries (CWB), for whom she is Area Country Manager, and joining forces with FGM charity 28 Too Many and the Maasai Cricket Warriors.


The project aims to up-skill teachers by providing advice on how to support girls who are fearful of FGM, or have been subjected to the practice, as well as providing support to girls who have been, or are likely to be, subjected to the practice.


Tracey is part of a predominately female CWB team which also includes University of Southampton alumni student midwife, Katie McLean, who is the charity’s midwifery and FGM specialist, and who is a midwife at the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton.


The team will be using cricket as the vehicle to enable the fostering of relations with relevant teachers and students to deliver the messages and support.


It was whilst in Kenya working on a similar project to promote action against sexual and gender based violence that Tracey was asked if she could provide support for girls about the practice of FGM.


In between her PhD research and role as a band 5 neonatal nurse, Tracey felt compelled to answer the call and return to Kenya with the charity’s backing and support.


Tracey says of the project: “Being a neonatal nurse I am part of a family of maternity services supporting women and babies from all over the world. The physical trauma of women who give birth who have undergone FGM can be fatal and I felt compelled to respond to the request to help.”


It was after a trip to Africa with CWB that Tracey the decision to change career and become a nurse. She felt she would really be able to make a difference to people's lives in this role, particularly in Africa.


Chief Executive of the charity, David Murray, said: “Tracey is a fantastic advocate for Cricket Without Boundaries and we’re really proud of her commitment to this challenging new pilot project.


“Our strong local partnerships with the Maasai Cricket Warriors, health agencies and schools in Kenya, and our collaboration with FGM research experts 28 Too Many, should enable us to make a positive contribution in support of the existing local efforts to end FGM in this community in Kenya”.


Before beginning her PhD Tracey took a two year postgraduate diploma in adult nursing, also at the University of Southampton, where she undertook a work placement at a neonatal unit in Denmark. It was during this experience that she realised this was the area she wanted to specialise in and further her studies.


The CWB FGM team is scheduled to pilot Tracey’s project in February next year (2015). The team will work with up to 40 girls from two secondary schools, aged between 14 and 16, empowering them through cricket coach training to find their voices and become leaders in their communities.


Whilst there the team will also work with a centre for vulnerable children, engaging midwives and healthcare workers, to talk about the issues and health risks surrounding the practice of FGM.


Executive Director of 28 Too Many, Dr Ann-Marie Wilson, said: “Our research on FGM in Kenya shows a FGM prevalence rate of more than 73% amongst Maasai girls and women. However attitudes are beginning to change and increasing Kenyan women and men are standing against FGM. Therefore we are delighted to be able to work with Cricket Without Boundaries and the Maasai Cricket Warriors to support the local efforts to tackle FGM.”



Notes for editors

Cricket Without Boundaries

Cricket Without Boundaries was established in April 2005 by founder-trustees Andy Hobbs, Chris Kangis and Ed Williams. It is a registered charity in the UK, number 1154576, operating under the name of Cricket Without Boundaries ("CWB").


CWB has three main goals:


  • To spread cricket through coaching children and teaching adults how to coach; and
  • To link the sport to HIV/AIDS awareness and incorporate these messages into coaching sessions.
  • To bring together and empower local communities through cricket.


Working in partnership with the Cricket Associations in each country, the relevant British High Commissions and the ICC, we follow a simple, 3 stage, sports development structure to try to ensure some form of sustained development of the game: 1) coach education; 2) Schools coaching, and 3) Tournament.

28 Too Many


28 Too Many is a charity working to end female genital mutilation (FGM). We focus on researching FGM and enabling local initiatives to end the practice in the 28 African countries where it is practised and across the diaspora. We also network and advocate for the global eradication of FGM, working closely with other charities/NGOs in the violence against women sector.


For more information contact: Louise Robertson, Communications Manager, 28 Too Many, Tel: 07957 805354, 


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