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The Making of Nimco Ali - Activism, FGM and Violence Against women

Welcome to the fifth episode of The Making Of Podcast... from The Female Lead. 

Our guest this week is the FGM campaigner and author, Nimco Ali. As a survivor of FGM herself, for over 10 years Nimco has been fighting to end this practice throughout the world. She is CEO of the Five Foundation and she has just been appointed as an independent government adviser tackling violence against women and girls. In 2019 she also published her first book What We’re Told Not To Talk About (But We’re Going To Anyway). 

Our conversation covered many tough topics like FGM and violence against women, as well as race, privilege and coming to terms with the past. It was an emotional conversation at times and we were honoured to experience Nimco’s total honesty and willingness to share. 

We recorded the interview over zoom, at the height of lockdown, so please bear with us as some bits may sound a little wobbly. 


Nimco Ali OBE is a Somali British social activist and writer. She co-founded Daughters of Eve, a non-profit organisation which works to protect girls and young women who are at risk from female genital mutilation (FGM), in 2010 and The Five Foundation, which leverages resources for front line activists, in 2019. Nimco has helped to position FGM as a central issue in ending violence against women and girls.

Her professional experience has included working for counter-terrorism within the civil service, supporting the rights of girls in the UK as part of Girlguiding UK and as network lead on The Girl Generation, the DfID-funded anti-FGM social change communications initiative. She is also a leading commentator in international media on the rights of girls and women – particularly surrounding FGM and related issues.

In 2014, she was awarded Red Magazine’s Woman of the Year award, and placed at No 6 on the Woman’s Hour Power List. Most recently she was named by the Sunday Times as one of Debrett’s 500 most influential people in Britain, as well one of the Evening Standard‘s 1000 most powerful and BBC’s 100 Women 2018.


The Making Of is hosted by Bea Appleby and is edited by Lauren Lind. The production is brought to you by The Female Lead and the whole series is very kindly sponsored by Missoma

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