Partnering with Traditional Rulers and Village Heads in the Campaign to End FGM/C- Abayomi Sarumi

  1. Welcome to today’s edition of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint programme on #endcuttinggirls. I am Abayomi Sarumi, your anchor.

2a. Today, in a bid to bring all stakeholders together, as we work to #endcuttinggirls

2b. We will look at partnering with traditional rulers/village heads in the campaign to #endcuttinggirls

  1. For the benefits of those joining is for the first time, this weekly tweet conference runs from 5pm to 7pm every Thursday. #endcuttinggirls
  2. It is one of the many activities aimed at bringing an end to female genital mutilation and cutting in this generation #endcuttinggirls
  3. It’s therefore imperative to appreciate @UNICEF_nigeria and @UNFPAnigeria for this laudable initiative #endcuttinggirls
  4. We hope to make this as engaging as possible, so start sending in your questions from 6:30pm. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #endcuttinggirls
  5. FGM/C; Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting is the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for nonmedical reasons #endcuttinggirls
  6. In type 1 of FGM/C, the prepuce of the clitoris is removed with the clitoris. It’s called Clitoridectomy #endcuttinggirls
  7. In type 2, the prepuce, clitoris and the labia minora is cut off in a process known as Excision #endcuttinggirls
  8. Infibulation which is the removal of the clitoris, labia minora and majora with subsequent suturing and reopening of the vagina is the type 3 #endcuttinggirls
  9. Any other form of cutting, mutilation, numbing, deadening et cetera not captured in type 1 to 3 is type 4 of FGM/C #endcuttinggirls
  10. This act, which medical personnel now carry out illegally, is done on the girl child for no medical reason(s). #endcuttinggirls
  11. Albeit, in most places, it’s practiced due to the dictates of the culture #endcuttinggirls
  12. For many who have been led to cut, it was part of rites of passage into womanhood #endcuttinggirls
  13. Who doesn’t want the fanfare of that historic passage? Their innocence, no longer a source of confidence #endcuttinggirls
  14. Understanding that FGM/C in some culture is a norm necessitates the need for partnership with relevant stakeholders #endcuttinggirls
  15. Also, identifying the right stakeholders and engaging them successfully is pivotal to #endcuttinggirls
  16. Identifying the traditional rulers as custodians of culture and “gatekeepers” to the community #endcuttinggirls
  17. Sets the tone for the partnership that can help reverse this trend #endcuttinggirls
  18. In Nigeria, traditional rulers are next to the gods. They are seen to be infallible and know what’s good for their people #endcuttinggirls
  19. The above presupposes that the Obis, Emirs and Obas can’t and won’t set their people on the wrong path #endcuttinggirls
  20. To this end, traditional rulers and their institutions have crucial roles to play if we must #endcuttinggirls
  21. In communities around the world where people have openly declared to #endfgm, it has been led by the traditional rulers/institutions #endcuttinggirls
  22. In 2009, traditional rulers led community members in the Upper Region, The Gambia to publicly declare abandonment of FGM/C #endcuttinggirls
  23. Because Nigeria is a global player, best practices around the world have been adopted so we can reduce prevalence and ultimately, incidence of FGM/C #endcuttinggirls
  24. This could be seen in various efforts of wives of governors in Nigeria to ensure we #endcuttinggirls in this generation.
  25. These supports have been in collaboration with traditional rulers, village heads, community leaders and traditional institutions #endcuttinggirls
  26. One of such efforts culminated in the most recent (globally) public declaration of abandonment of FGM/C #endcuttinggirls
  27. It was a milestone for us and every stakeholder working ceaselessly to #endcuttinggirls
  28. This declaration which was the first in Nigeria happened on 19th June 2017 in Izzi clan comprising of 3 LGAs in Ebonyi State #endcuttinggirls *insert pictures from event*
  29. As mentioned earlier, it was also led by the traditional ruler and the declaration was pronounced by the custodian of culture in Izzi clan #endcuttinggirls
  30. Various collaborative efforts by traditional rulers and other stakeholders have resulted in community level dialogues #endcuttinggirls
  31. These dialogues have helped community members to speak openly about FGM/C and end the culture of silence around the practice #endcuttinggirls
  32. It must be said that the culture of silence has been of the biggest challenges in combating FGM/C #endcuttinggirls
  33. Those that have been cut do not have the courage to share their pains #endcuttinggirls
  34. Those that are uncut don’t think it’s necessary to share their stories either #endcuttinggirls
  35. As we all come together, in solidarity, to lend our voices and support the #endcuttinggirls campaign
  36. The traditional rulers (institutions) remain one which can speed up our reach and aid our goals to #endcuttinggirls
  37. Partnering and engaging our traditional rulers would be effective when we clearly define how they can help us #endcuttinggirls
  38. Our traditional rulers can function in line with their divine roles as advocates, law makers and law enforcers #endcuttinggirls
  39. As custodians of culture, when our traditional rulers become advocates, it gives our message “divine credibility” #endcuttinggirls
  40. Being advocates erases the doubt of whether FGM/C is still acceptable in such communities #endcuttinggirls
  41. As advocates, they will lead discussions in the community (always) and this banishes this culture of silence #endcuttinggirls
  42. As law makers, they can set up bodies that would monitor (to eradicate) the activities of cutters in their communities #endcuttinggirls
  43. Also, introducing alternative rites of passage is within the ambit of our traditional rulers as law makers #endcuttinggirls
  44. When our traditional rulers function as law enforcers, they help ensure that community members respect the country and community’s law #endcuttinggirls
  45. Changing the incentives for an act helps change the perception about it #endcuttinggirls
  46. Traditional rulers can also make uncut women community ambassadors to preach the good in leaving women uncut #endcuttinggirls
  47. By and large, to #endcuttinggirls, we must work with traditional rulers and village heads.
  48. While they lead from the front as pathfinders for their people in the campaign to #endcuttinggirls

 

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