2016 London Design Awards

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Petals - FGM web app for young people

Image Credit : Coventry University



Project Overview

‘Petals’ is a web app for young people aged 11 – 18 that focusses on female genital mutilation (FGM). Whilst FGM affects girls and young women we wanted boys and young men to also use the app, as from our research we knew that they are key to helping eradicate the practice here in the UK.

The app was funded with support from the Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust, the 1970 Trust and the Pamela Barlow Trust.


Coventry University


Professor Hazel Barrett, lead academic on FGM in Higher Education in the UK
Steven Ball - Senior Learning Technologist
Deanne Dunstan - Senior Bid & Awards Writer
Jamie Stallard

Project Brief

Our aim was to develop a web app to raise awareness around female genital mutilation (FGM) for young people, to empower them and to help protect young girls most at risk.

The web app includes:

• A quiz
• where to go for support and advice
• the facts about FGM including what it is and why it is practised
• the effects of FGM on a girl’s health
• the law regarding FGM (it is illegal and deemed to be child abuse)
• actions the UK Government is taking to eradicate FGM
• the experiences of women who have undergone FGM (survivors)
• the views of young men
• the views of religious leaders
• actions individuals can take themselves to help end FGM
• Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) including ‘what if...?' scenarios
• a glossary

The content used in the app had to be user-friendly, easy to understand, simple to navigate, informative, and non-confrontational. It needed to be accessible on a variety of devices and have inbuilt privacy features. We were keen to use any content that young people had developed themselves.
Our aim was to develop a web app to raise awareness around female genital mutilation (FGM) for young people, to empower them and to help protect young girls most at risk.

Project Need

FGM is now an issue in the UK because of the number of migrant communities settling here. Many of these communities have come from countries where FGM is a frequent, cultural practice.
There are now an estimated 137,000 women and girls with FGM living in England and Wales and over 60,000 young girls are deemed to be at risk.

A web app on FGM for young people did not exist and we wanted to develop one because we knew that the vast majority of young people communicate via mobile phones, ipads, laptops etc.

We felt it was important to design something for young people themselves that they would use and hopefully share with others, our aim being to educate them particularly in terms of their rights as UK citizens, the lifelong negative effects of FGM and where they could find support.

User Experience

We piloted the initial app with a few young people both girls and boys (11 – 18) from a local secondary school. As a result of their feedback we made the following changes:

• included more male viewpoints on FGM
• included more religious aspects/viewpoints of FGM
• made sections collapsible
• added 'unsure' button to quiz
• added a glossary
• added a FAQ section
• added in case studies/scenarios
• added in 'what can I do to end FGM?'

Project Marketing

We launched the app twice in July 2015; the first launch took place in Westminster and the second in Coventry. We wanted to launch the app before schools finished for the summer break when the 'cutting season' traditionally takes place. The launch in Westminster was attended by the then Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan and Karen Bradley MP

Both events were videoed and are available on YouTube and received positive feedback from the national press.




As a result of Petals, early this year, we were commissioned by Coventry City Council to develop another web app on FGM, this time for professionals including teachers, social workers, police and health professionals. This app will be launched in Coventry on 4 October 2016 and can be accessed here - http://petals.coventry.ac.uk/professionals

Petals received endorsement from the NSPCC and it is on their website.

Project Privacy

The web app has built-in privacy features. If you are looking at the app on a smartphone, when you shake it the app will disappear. There are no pop-ups and no history is left on any device. We felt this was particularly important as some young people might be reluctant to use the app if its history could be found easily by family members.

This category is all about helping our communities to connect and engage, from emergency services to Not for Profits to social groups, these apps and sites not may not only assist in delivery but also create efficiencies providing those at the coalface more time to do their important work whether it be fighting fires or managing the local team. It's not all serious though we're also looking for projects that work to help bring the community groups together with fun and enjoyable activities.
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