TWEET CONFERENCE SCRIPT: Partnering With Youth (Students) In Higher Institution To Eliminate FGM/C

TRANSCRIPT ON “PARTNERING WITH YOUTH (STUDENTS) IN HIGHER INSTITUTION TO ELIMINATE FGM/C on THURSDAY JANUARY 18, 2018

Good evening. Welcome to today’s tweet conference. I am @Charles_Clever, your anchor, and my co-anchor is @Femijoss

Today, we shall be focusing on the topic on “PARTNERING WITH YOUTH (STUDENTS) IN HIGHER INSTITUTION TO ELIMINATE FGM/C

FGM/C stands for Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. FGM/C refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or any other injury to the female genital organs for cultural or other non-medical reasons

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies FGM/C into 4 types.

Type 1: partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (Clitoridectomy).

Type 2: partial or total removal of clitoris and labia minora, with or without excision of & labia majora (excision).

Type 3: narrowing the vaginal opening by appositioning labia minora or labia majora, with/without excision of clitoris (infibulation)

Type 4: unclassified:all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. cauterization.

The centuries-old practice of FGM/C is a social norm, buttressed by underlying gender structures &power relations and deeply rooted in tradition.

In Africa, FGM/C is known to be practiced among certain communities in 29 countries, including Nigeria.  FGM/C is usually carried out by elderly people in the community (usually, but not exclusively, women) designated to perform this task or by traditional birth attendants

Where it is widely practiced, FGM/C is supported by both men and women, usually without question, and anyone that does not follow the norm may face condemnation, harassment and ostracism.  Where FGM/C is a social norm; it is difficult for families to abandon it without support from the wider community.

In these communities, it is often practiced even when it is known to inflict harm upon girls because the perceived social benefits of the practice are deemed higher than its disadvantages.

What role can Youths (students) in Higher Institutions play in FGM/C abandonment in Nigeria?  Students in Higher Institution can lead the way in tackling development, gender, and health issues, and they can lead the way to ending the practice of FGM/C.

First an END FGM/C VOLUNTEERS TEAM should be established in select Higher Institutions in Nigeria. With a view to initiating and sustaining an effective EndFGM/C campaign in Higher Institutions in Nigeria. The team members will be randomly selected across various faculties, departments, associations, and opinion leaders that exist amongs students in the various Institutions.

A capacity building meeting/training will be organized for the selected team members.  This will equip them towards launching and sustaining an effective EndFGM/C campaign in their various Institutions.

In the training the team will work out ways to initiate/sustain an effective EndFGM/C campaign within their Institution. Importantly, the team will work out ways to mainstream EndFGM/C campaign into already existing student union activities

As an outcome students in Higher Institution will start up EndFGM/C discussions within the students community. Students in Higher Institution will as a result scale up Awareness Creation using social media platforms in order to

The power of the social media in shaping perceptions and influencing public opinion is well-known. The media have transcended time and age, going through various tools and forms and stayed true to its influencing power. For instance, Students in Higher Institutions belong to various whatsapp group pages for information dissemination

Information about FGM/C can be circulated on various students whatsapp group pages. Explaining that girl children who do not undergo FGM/C grow up to be healthy women and no less female than girls who do

Public facebook posts on FGM/C can also be made by those who have been trained tagging their friends. Massive EndFGM/C informations circulating on social media platforms within the students will strike up discussions

Step down training on FGM/C can be conducted by team members for their various classes, associations and student unions. This will equip more students to become advocates of the FGM/C abandonment campaign in Nigeria.

Students in Higher Institutions on getting home can talk to their parents/families who still believe/practice FGM/C. Students in Higher Institution can organize EndFGM/C street rallies within and outside their campus

  1. Students in Higher Institutions belong to various Religious associations
  2. The religious leaders of these various religious associations can be engaged with to speak out against FGM/C.
  3. Based on the respect they carry, it would be easier for students religious leaders to drum support from students, for the EndFGM/C campaign.

Students in Higher Institutions who have been trained can engage students in other schools to end FGM/C.

  1. The EndFGM/C campaign can be mainstreamed into existing club activities within the Higher Institutions.
  2. Press clubs within the Institutions can go into development of articles on how best to end FGM/C.
  3. Debating clubs can go into debating on the best ways to end FGM/C.
  4. Drama/arts clubs can produce drama episodes on the dangers of and the need to end FGM/C.
  5. Radio houses within the campuses can produce/use EndFGM/C Jingles and host talk shows on ending FGM/C.

Students in Higher Institutions can call for the implementation of all laws, provisions prohibiting practice of FGM/C. Students in Higher Institution can pay advocacy visit to custodians of culture in communities that still practice FGM/C.

Students in Higher Institutions can construct local bill boards displaying EndFGM/C inscriptions within their campuses

I will stop here for my colleague @Femijoss to conclude. Please don’t forget to keep you questions coming in from 6:45pm.

Thank you @Charles_Clever. Good evening all and welcome to the final laps of this conference.

Youth (students) in Secondary Schools can also play significant role in eliminating FGM/C.

First, some select secondary schools can be chosen across the country. There will be a 1-day sensitisation programme for students of each of these Secondary School in each State. It will involve a presentation of the basicfacts about FGM/C and role of young people and School Clubs in the campaign.

The students will also be informed about the  Social Media Campaign and encourage them to join the campaign. The students will be given information on the  Social Media handles, as well as Educational materials on FGM/C.

Afterwards, school Clubs that are interested in partnering with the programme will indicate their interest, (e.g. Health/AIDS Club, Press Club, Debating Society, Interact, etc.).

3 to 5 Clubs will be selected and an orientation session will be conducted with 17 Executives of these School Clubs, and two Teachers, mainstreaming FGM/C into their regular Club activities.

For example, the Press Club can ask students to write about FGM/C and paste it on their notice board, while the debating society can organise debates on FGM/C, etc. They will also be encouraged to discuss FGM/C at their regular meetings and celebrate the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM/C (Feb 6).

Each club will develop an action plan for the EndFGM/C activities they intend to organise. They will also be informed of the importance of keeping records, of all the students that attend their activities (disaggregated by sex and age).

A month after the establishment of End FGM/C volunteers team and the secondary school sensitization, there will be a Review meeting with the Executives of the School Clubs and End FGM/V volunteers team.

The purpose of the meeting would to discuss the activities organised by the clubs, provide conduct refresher training based on need, review and collect their reports, share educational materials, discuss lessons learned; discuss challenges and proposed solutions; plan future activities, and discuss Any Other Business (AOB).

The key output of the meeting will be a report of the activities organised by the School Clubs and their Action plans. Engaging Youth (students) in Institutions will Increase the number of young people with access to FGM/C information. Engaging students in various Institution will Provide a safe and enabling environment for young people to discuss FGM/C.

Engaging students in Institutions in the EndFGM/C campaign will Strengthen their role in ending the harmful practice

Engaging students in various Institution will Build the capacity of School Clubs/associations to run campaigns on FGM/C.

Engaging students in various Institutions will Increase the number of young people participating in the endcuttinggirls Social Media Campaign.

Students in various Institutions taking up the EndFGM/C campaign would go a long way in changing the mindset of individuals/communities that still believe in and/or practice FGM/C.

In conclusion, students in various Institutions are major stakeholder in the fight against FGM/C and must be engaged. We have come to the end of today twitter conference. Thanks for Joining us! It’s question time.

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