First, on February 6, 2003, Stella Obasanjo, the First Lady of Nigeria and spokesperson for the Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation, made the official declaration on “Zero Tolerance to FGM” in Africa during a conference organized by the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC). Then the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights adopted this day as an international awareness day.
In 2014, 17-year-old Brighton student Fahma Mohamed created an online petition with Change.org on the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, asking Michael Gove, then the education secretary in the United Kingdom, to write to the leaders of all primary and secondary schools in the United Kingdom, encouraging them to be alert to the dangers of FGM.   The petition attained more than 230,000 supporters and was one of the fastest growing UK petitions on Change.org.  Michael Gove met with Fahma Mohamed and members of the youth group Integrate Bristol, who have also played a key role in raising awareness of FGM.  He also sent a letter to all headteachers in England informing them of new guidelines on children’s safety, including guidance on FGM. These new guidelines marked the first time the safeguarding guidelines included specific mention of FGM and encouraged teachers to be vigilant against it.