Across the world, over 200 million girls and women have undergone at least one of the four forms of female genital mutilation.
Of this 200 million, 10% are Nigerians and they are people we have at one time or the other come across in our daily endeavour.
This whole number is an enormous number considering the population distribution of Nigeria.
In Nigeria, the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 2016 -2017) has revealed that18.4% of women aged 15-49 years had undergone FGM; a decrease from 27% in 2011. Conversely, the national FGM prevalence among daughters aged 0-14 years increased from 19.2% (2011) to 25.3% (2016-2017).
Good evening, I am @dareadaramoye your host for today’s twitter conference.
Our topic for today is “Strengthening Community-level Surveillance Systems for Monitoring Compliance to commitments made during Public Declarations of the Abandonment of FGM (PDAs) in Nigeria.”
We will highlight strategies that communities can deploy to ensure that community members do not return to the practice after a PDA.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) otherwise known as female genital cutting or female circumcision is defined as “all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”.
In other words Female genital mutilation (FGM) is any procedure that causes injury to the female genitals without medical indication.
The World Health Organization (WHO), classifies FGM into four broad types, and subgroups, based on the anatomical extent of the procedure, and they are all practices in Nigeria: …
Type I: partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (Clitoridectomy).
Subgroups of Type I FGM are: type Ia, removal of the clitoral hood or prepuce only; type Ib, removal of the clitoris with the prepuce.
Type II: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (excision).
Subgroups of Type II FGM are: type IIa, removal of the labia minora only; type IIb, partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora; type IIc, partial or total removal of the clitoris, labia minora and labia majora.
Type III: narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris (infibulation).
Subgroups of Type III FGM are: type IIIa, removal and apposition of the labia minora; type IIIb, removal and apposition of the labia majora.
Reinfibulation is covered under this definition. This is a procedure to recreate an infibulation, for example after childbirth when defibulation is necessary.
Type IV: unclassified – all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for nonmedical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.
FGM functions as a self-enforcing social convention or social norm. In societies where it is practiced, it is a socially upheld behavioural rule.
Families and individuals continue to perform FGM because they believe that their community expects them to do so.
Families further expect that if they do not respect the social rule, they will suffer social consequences such as derision, marginalization and loss of status.
While FGM is de facto violent, it is not intended as an act of violence. It is considered to be a necessary step to enable girls to become women and to be accepted, together with the rest of the family, by the social group of which they are part.
Moreover, the removal of or damage to healthy genital tissue interferes with the natural functioning of the body and may cause severe immediate and long-term negative health consequences.
For additional reading on FGM you can visit http://www.who.int and www.endcuttinggirls.org or watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0-dYD9cYKo&t=80s
The “UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Global Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Abandonment: Accelerating Change” was launched in 2007 to provide financial and technical support to countries.
Nigeria joined the UN Joint Programme (UNJP) in December 2013.
In 2014, Implementation of Phase II of the UNJP began in Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Osun, Oyo and Lagos states with a joint FGM Situation Assessment.
These states were chosen on the basis of high prevalence for FGM based on the NDHS data (2013).
Prevalence of FGM (NDHS 2013) – National 25%, Osun (77%), Ebonyi (74%), Ekiti (72%), Imo (68%), Oyo (66%), Lagos (35%)
The joint programme which is currently on Phase III, which is UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation: Accelerating Change has recorded numerous achievements across the 5 implementing states.
One of such major achievements of the UNJP is Public Declaration of FGM abandonment in 415 communities in 4 focus states (Ekiti, Imo, Osun and Oyo) in 2018.
A Public declaration of abandonment of FGM is a defined as “formal public ceremonies involving one or more communities-typically villages but increasingly also districts and ethnic groups-that take part in an event where they manifest through their representatives, the specific commitment to abandon FGM.
It is the result of months and months of awareness, sensitization, education, and Community Dialogues, Consensus Building and series of activities.
Public Declaration of FGM abandonment reflects the courage of the communities to speak out against almost 2,000 year old practice that is taboo in many societies.
Public declarations has a multiplier effect as people have a chance to speak out and reach a consensus against FGM. People are likely to abandon FGM when they expunge the practice openly.
You can watching Videos of our Public Declaration of FGM via the Following links
There are different levels of public declaration depending on the population size of the group making the declaration. But generally, FGM abandonment public declaration have a high potential of leading to other public declarations.
Public declaration does not mean that the declaring community is free from FGM, rather it represents a milestone in the process of abandonment because it signals the change in social expectations.
Having secured public declaration, it is important to strengthen the community systems to monitor it and ensure that community do not return to the practice after declaration. #EndCuttingGirls
Strategies that communities can deploy to ensure that community members do not return to the practice after a PDA includes the following:
Establish Surveillance Team such as Community-based Child Protection Committee (CBCPC) in the Communities where Public Declaration of FGM have been achieved to monitor compliance.
In order to sustain children’s protection from #FGM, violence, exploitation and abuse, the establishment of Community-Based Child Protection Committees and Networks (CBCPNs) is very key.
A CBCPC normally serves as a forum where community members meet, discuss child protection problems and research solutions. It is thus an informal community structure, representing all sectors in the community who have a role to play in protecting children – including children themselves.
While bringing concrete solutions to the situation of individual children and young people, they also serve as platforms for holding duty-bearers accountable for promoting child rights, protecting children from violence and minors in conflict with the law.
– CBCPC are closer to the community than the national authorities, in terms of detecting and following-up cases, and mutual respect between different community segments;
– They speak the same local language and share the same community culture and habits;
– Children are their own, which means that they will put more efforts into looking after them and protecting them from FGM.”
“CBCPCs are created through consulting and receiving approval from the community leaders. Then, active community members who are willing to work for community affairs are chosen.
CBCPC are people accepted in the community and have no past issues related to the Child Protection Policy.
After setting up the CBCPC, they should be trained on the following topics: child rights, Child Protection Policy, child protection, communication with children, case detection, following-up and referral, and other related topics.”
The CBCPCs will then monitor all birth of Female Children in the Communities and also act as surveillance that ensure that Female Children are not genitally mutilated by Traditional Circumcisers and health Workers.
Communicate the social norms shift via interpersonal communication within and between social networks e.g. age grade.
Commence/sustain social media and mass media campaign that supports dialogue rather than transmits messages #endcuttinggirls
Conduct sessions with ex-cutters to educate them about FGM and how to identify alternative sources of income
Establish and popularise a telephone helpline for reporting suspected FGM-related issues #endcuttinggirls.
Register all girls that have not undergone FGM as a mechanism for monitoring progress and protecting the girls. #endcuttinggirls
Public Declaration is the most significant/decisive step in the campaign to end FGM, therefore we must strengthen community systems to monitor and enforce FGM abandonment after a public declaration”
Thanks for joining us today, kindly re-tweet this trend as we respond to your questions now…
We implore you to join us every other Thursday 5-7pm. Visit our website www.endcuttinggirls.org and kindly follow the handle “@Endcuttinggirls’’ on all social media platforms.
Together we will end FGM in this generation