Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been
portrayed is a form of human rights abuse. Young women and girls who undergo
FGM are subjected to the risk of developing infections as well as gynecological
and psychological complications.
Where severe bleeding occurs, the risk of
death is imminent. Although FGM has been decried as an unnecessary and harmful
ritual, it continues to be practiced in many parts of Africa, some parts of
Asia, and the Middle East.
Beliefs about the benefits of FGM are
deeply entrenched in tradition and culture, making it a difficult practice to
eradicate. This entry aims to portray the cultural embeddedness of FGM as the
main factor in preventing its eradication.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by the World
Health Organization (WHO) as “all procedures that involve partial or total
removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital
organs for nonmedical reasons”.
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
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
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
Reinfibulation is covered under this definition. This is a
procedure to recreate an infibulation, for example after childbirth when
defibulation is necessary.
unclassified – all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for
nonmedical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and
Type IV also includes the practice of “massaging” or
applying petroleum jelly, herbal concoctions or hot water to the clitoris to desensitize
it or pushing it back into the body, which is common in many parts of Nigeria,
especially Imo State.
FGM functions as a self-enforcing social convention or
social norm. In societies where it is practiced, it is a socially upheld
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, although 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.
The risks girls and women might likely encounter through FGM
could be immediate and short term or long term and permanent.
For more information about FGM you can visit http://www.who.int or
For effective FGM- related social services delivery in
Nigeria, we need to enlighten all arms of government about the effect of FGM on
every girl child.
The Nigerian constitution assigns service delivery
responsibilities to the three tiers of government with states and local
government playing the most significant role.
Sadly, Nigeria governments have not been totally up and
doing in terms of efficient and effective FGM social service delivery to the
This is evident in the poor funding of FGM related issues by
FGM related social services delivery include not only the
enforcement of law but also constant education on the dangers associated with
FGM and so on.
The term sustainability has gained significant popularity in
policy-oriented research, Social services and social sector over the last few
Looking at the perspective of Social services,
sustainability of a project simply implies the continuation of project
activities and sustenance of project outcomes after the initial/primary grant
Most donors are concerned about sustainability aspect of a
project and often fund projects which have a well-defined sustainability plan
in place. It is a challenge for NGOs to ensure a steady flow of funds for
executing their projects and programs.
Integrating sustainability principles in the ongoing
campaign of #endcuttinggilrs can be an effective way to ensure long term
We need to understand that sustainability requires long term
planning to facilitate diverse donor engagement and for improving institutional
capacity of the target population. Sustainability planning is an important step
for nonprofits as it prepares an organization to deliver positive outcome in
the absence of primary funding.
However, as a result of numerous factors enumerated above,
governments have been inhibited to effective and efficient social service
delivery to grassroots. Consequently, I would highlight some measures that
would improve social service delivery. These measures include;
Nigeria must ensure financial
sustainability. This refers to budgetary allocation for FGM related services in
the Country for maintaining and continuing the campaign.
We must also ensure proper working of organization and institutions
that were developed as part of the project.
Programmatic Sustainability must also be looked into. It
means to continue the organizations projects and programme in the absence of
I will also like
to look at the different steps required in sustaining FGM-related social
service issues in Nigeria
A thoroughly thought Long term vision of how and what to do
in the long run should be in place. With the use of data and facts, explanation
should be presented to the donor about the long term goal and the processes,
resources required ensuring success.
It is always advisable to integrate sustainability aspects
in the project right from the beginning. This would help to develop partnerships
and relations with relevant stakeholders at an early stage of project
development. This would also ensure that once the primary funding terminates
you have a strong support to continue your project.
Develop a strong communication strategy so that the project
results can be shared with a large audience. Well documented project results
can help in getting support from a range of stakeholders and donors.
Another major step to ensure sustainability is the involvement
and participation of key stakeholders in program development. As part of the
project activities you can initiate multi-stakeholder dialogue workshops to
involve relevant people in the project.
Create an inventory of all physical resources that can be
kept after the project ends. Some devices and equipment’s purchased during a
project can be used in future e.g. Camera.
Constitutional Reforms to ensure the passage of the Anti-
FGM Bill in all states across the country.
Involving the community is the key to have sustained FGM-
related Social Services by making sure that the project involves the community
at various stages, this will give them ownership of the project and there are
high chances that they may continue with some project aspects even after the
project duration. As the entire process will be participatory the skills and
knowledge gained by the present group of people, will be transferable and also
Institutionalize local groups would also play a very
important role to sustain FGM- related Social Services by strengthening local
institutions and involving them in
planning and implementation phase of your project.
Community advocacy is also important, this can be done by
sensitizing the community about the effects of FGM and then initiating a policy
advocacy can also ensure sustainability in the long run.
Involvement of local agencies and government will ensure
improved access to the government initiatives in this direction. As these
agencies are permanent, they will help in sustaining the project activities
beyond the project duration.
One of the strategies that can also be used to sustain FGM-
related Social Services is through engaging volunteers to perform some
activities. As volunteers do not take any salary, this human resource can be
used to continue the mission without spending money.
Working with existing Structures to mainstream FGM related
services instead of reinventing the wheel.
Curtailing Corrupt Practice within Government by stemming
corruption and embezzlement, all financial transaction related to social services
must be audited and publicized. There should be monitoring and evaluation unit
aim at measuring efficiency and effectiveness of the allocated funds.
To ensure accountability and transparency, the civil society
organizations should also monitor the usage of the allocated funds and report
any found wanting to anti-corruption agent. The anti-corrupt agencies like the
Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Adequate Financial Allocation of Funds and the good
accessibility of the funds will help NGOS working on FGM reach more
There should be Capacity Building of institutions and Human
Resources, this should involve training and orientation in policy development,
monitoring and evaluation, public participation, social mobilization and
government collaboration with the private sector.
Lastly, the other dimension is human resources upgrading –
including training and education of NGOs and other organization working on the
eradication of FGM related issues to enhance their knowledge, skills and
At this juncture, I will like to stop and I will welcome
questions and contributions.
Thank you for joining me, don’t forget to us again next week