Jane’s mission to stamp out female genital mutilation

Jane Miller, second from right, with role models on her last trip to Kenya
Jane Miller, second from right, with role models on her last trip to Kenya

A senior health advisor campaigning to end female genital mutilation (FGM) has flown out to begin a three-year posting in Tanzania.

Jane Miller, 49, and her family left their home in George Street, Berkhamsted, on Saturday to fly out to Dar es Salaam where Jane began her new role with the Department for International Development (DFID) on Monday.

The mum-of-two has been a leading light in the department’s work to tackle Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and this week marks a year since the UK’s Girl Summit – an international meeting where commitments were made to eradicate FGM and child marriage around the world.

Jane, who moved to Africa with her husband Rob, 52, and their teenage daughter Sam, 14, will be working with colleagues to improve conditions around malaria, maternal health, education, water and sanitation, as well as FGM.

She said: “It’s a fascinating portfolio and I’m joining a great team. FGM is unnecessary but in many cultures it is ‘the norm’, the same as getting your period and childbirth.

“Survivors of FGM are the most amazing advocates for change, and change is happening. We just need to accelerate it.”

It is not the first time Jane – who was awarded an OBE in January for her services to development in Africa – has lived in the country.

After stints in South Africa, Nigeria and Zambia, she confesses that she’s been ‘bitten by the bug’.

This latest posting will be bittersweet for the Millers, as they will be moving without their oldest daughter Zoe, who died in 2012.

The teenager would have been 17 this year, and she too was a fervent campaigner against FGM.

Aid from the UK will contribute to reducing FGM by 30 per cent in 10 countries.