Female Genital Mutilation
(FGM), which is prevalent in 30 countries in Africa and in a few countries in
Asia and the Middle East – is now present across the globe due to international
Genital Mutilation (FGM) includes all procedures that involve the partial or
total removal of external genitalia or other injury to the female genital
organs for non-medical reasons. @WHO @endcuttinggirls
FGM damages normal female genital tissues and interferes with the
natural functioning of women’s genitals. Despite global efforts to promote the
abandonment of the practice, FGM remains widespread.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified FGM
into four types, and they are all practiced in Nigeria.
FGM Type I: partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the
Subgroups of Type I FGM are: type Ia, removal of the
clitoral hood or prepuce only; type Ib, removal of the clitoris with the
FGM 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
FGM 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.
FGM Type IV: unclassified – all other harmful procedures to the
female genitalia for nonmedical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing,
incising, scraping and cauterization.
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 of any type is a violation of the human rights of
girls and women. FGM is known to be harmful to girls and women in many ways.
FGM practice is
strongly rooted in the people’s culture and so, it has not been an easy task in
getting people to abandon the practice despite the harmful effects on girls and
In order to end FGM in Nigeria, there must be partnership
between the practicing community and the “EndFGM campaigners” and this can be facilitated
Advocacy is a deliberate process, based on demonstrated
evidence, to directly and indirectly influence decision makers, stakeholders
and relevant audiences to support and implement actions that contribute to the fulfillment
of children and women’s rights.
Advocacy starts with an understanding of the situations
as based on the identification of shortfalls in realization of the rights of
Girls and Women, as well as those whose actions or inactions contribute to such
Advocacy serves as a strategic tool to draw the attention
of policy makers on the magnitude of the practice of FGM, especially in high
Advocacy helps to identify and produce evidence on who
should be targeted in #EndFGM campaigns.
Advocacy can be expressed through different ways
like, listening to the people involved, being
non-judgmental, providing you with information, advice and guidance, genuinely
understanding your concerns & respecting your decisions. Advocacy also provides a platform for survivors to tell their story.
There is nothing more
inspiring and motivating than hearing FGM survivors tell their stories of how
they overcome the challenges that they were facing as a result of the procedure.
Advocacy brings together the most
passionate, influential members of the prevalent communities.
In most cases, advocacy provides a hands-on learning
experience. It also wages hope and
inspires change in the community.
Advocacy helps in bringing policy issues to the forefront
of the agenda for decision-makers, by building awareness, visibility and public
momentum behind the issue.
These policy issues brought to the forefront of the
agenda of decision makers helps in creating a linkage between the community
members and the policy makers.
A Human Rights
Based Approach to advocacy starts with addressing underlying causes of problems to achieve equity, and
addresses issues of equity to solve underlying causes of problems.
A Human Rights
Based Approach (HRBA) to advocacy
has the following characteristics listed as follows;
Advocacy promotes participation and partnership based on the belief that all
people, including girls and women, are entitled to a say in the decisions that
HRBA to advocacy
recognizes children, women and men as key actors in their development by having
them use and organize their sources of power to claim their rights.
Advocacy entails the building of community capacity for children and women to
understand their rights, to claim their rights, and to make meaningful
contribution to realizing these rights.
HRBA to advocacy
facilitates participation in societal decision-making as an objective in
itself. It calls for a people centered approach and child-centered approach to
advocacy, to address inequity.
Advocacy targets accountability of those with duties towards children/women, recognizing
that holding those with power accountable to rights holders is key to
sustainable institutional and social arrangements that guarantee children their
Advocacy emphasizes that all rights apply to all children without exception or
Advocacy highlights patterns in the non-fulfillment of rights that reveal
underlying conditions of marginalization and exclusion, and addresses these
Advocacy focus is also to bring a more equitable power distribution in the
society, thereby improving the condition and position of the rights holders by
addressing causes of rights violations at all levels – immediate, underlying
Advocacy is founded on the legal duties of governments and the ethical duties
of all people, drawing both on the obligations arising from ratification of the
CRC and the enduring moral principles of children’s rights that the Convention
Advocacy strives to ensure that national laws and policies are in
conformity with international human rights instruments.
designed to change systems is distinct from advocacy on behalf of an individual
victim of violence in the courts or within the community.
advocacy means efforts to change policy and practice at the local, national or
international level; to change the situation for groups of individuals who share
similar problems. While systems advocacy works to improve the system to
the benefit of individuals, it is a long-term approach to problem solving
requiring sustained effort. Advocates
working at the system level must always keep the practical needs of victims in
mind when changing policies and systems.
strategy to address violence against women and girls should incorporate both
practical, policy and systems change activities.
In many ways, bringing an end to FGM requires building
partnership, changing community norms and societal attitudes that discriminates
against women and subjugates the rights of women to those of men.
Programmatic interventions must aim to promote the
empowerment of women and girls through awareness raising campaigns and
increasing their access to education.
Accelerating social change and creating the necessary
preconditions will enable women to realize the full extent of their rights and
may help them conclude that the practice of FGM can end.
In conclusion, Advocacy is a set of targeted actions
directed at decision makers in support of a specific policy issue. It is about
helping people to say what they want; represent their interest; gain the
services and support they need or are entitled to
Due to the importance of Advocacy, the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint
Programme in Nigeria has utilized this this strategy to build partnerships with
policy makers and decision makers in government and the focus communities,
The use of Advocacy as a strategy, by the UNFPA-UNICEF
Joint Programme in Nigeria, was one of the factors that lead to public
declarations of abandonment of FGM in some of the focus communities in the five
states (Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Osun and Oyo)
This is where I will end today’s segment of the conference
and will glad standby to take your questions. Thank you for staying with me to discuss “Advocacy:
An Important step in building partnership to end FGM”.
Together, we will #endcuttinggirls in this generation.