The Blossom Gang: co-producing research on FGM with second-generation young people in the UK

Saadye Ali

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Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a practice that involves the removal of external female genitalia and is widely known as a violation of human rights. The custom is illegal in the United Kingdom (UK) and carries a sentence of up to 14 years in prison. This prohibition, along with the secretive nature of the practice, has led to limited research on the awareness of FGM on young people in the UK. Little is known about the process of involving young people in research about the topic.

This paper is based on the findings of a Ph.D. project that used a community-based participatory research approach (CBPR). The research took a two-stage approach: stage one aimed to recruit nine young people aged 15–18, from the Southwest of England, who attended a 10-day training workshop to prepare them for stage two—data collection with young people aged 13–15. This paper focuses on the 10-day creative, collaborative workshops. The data collected from the collaborative workshops were analysed using thematic analysis.

Undertaking CBPR enhanced the quality and relevance of this research. Engaging young people as co-researchers was vital for the success of this project. By developing a collaborative learning environment, young people were able to build trusting relationships which flourished beyond the research project. In addition, the creative workshops enabled peer learning about FGM and inspired young people to learn new skills that was useful in their daily lives.

The collaborative environment created in this project enabled an insightful learning experience for young people and researchers alike. Participants and facilitators formed relationships; participants learned new marketable skills and researchers gained new insights about FGM, from a young person’s perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Article number68
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalResearch Involvement and Engagement
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2023


  • Participation and involvement
  • Co-Production
  • Young people
  • FGM
  • Female genital mutilation
  • second generation
  • research involvement
  • Participation
  • Youth
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Second-generation
  • Insider
  • Doctoral research


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