to WHO, the term “Female Genital Mutilation” refers to all procedures involving
partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to
the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
FGM is carried out by different people for so many different reasons. However,
various researches have proven that none of the reasons to be unjustifiable.
While most people carry out the practice on baby girls few days after birth,
others do it during puberty while others even do it before marriage.
have had of communities where women who were not cut during their lifetime must
be cut even before they are buried. Basically, there are 4 different types of
FGM as classified by World Health Organization (WHO).
FGM Type I: partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the
prepuce (Clitoridectomy). The 2 subdivisions are, FGM Type Ia:
removal of the prepuce/clitoral hood (circumcision) and FGM Type Ib: removal of
the clitoris with the prepuce.
FGM Type II: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the
labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (excision). The 3
subdivisions are of FGM Type II are; FGM Type IIa: removal of the labia minora
only; FGM Type IIb: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia
minora; and FGM Type IIIc: partial or total removal of the clitoris, the labia
minora and the labia majora.
FGM Type III: Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with the 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). The 2
subdivisions are, FGM Type IIIa: removal and appositioning the labia minora
with or without excision of the clitoris; and FGM Type IIIb: removal and
appositioning the labia majora with or without excision of the clitoris.
The last type is the Type IV also known as UNCLASSIFIED
refers to all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for nonmedical
purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and
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 culture and tradition; it has not been an easy task in getting people to
abandon the practice despite the harmful effects on girls and women.
a pupil refers to a young learner, usually those who are in secondary school
and below, while a student refers to learners who are enrolled in a college or
university. For the sake of these conference, we will limit our view to
children and teenagers.
females amongst these group of persons (pupil) are more prone to being cut and
good orientation and education on the practice of FGM would enable them to
speak out from being cut or speak out when their sisters are to be cut.
is direct link between FGM and education and this has posed as one of the
leading tools towards eradicating the practice of FGM.
the regard of FGM and education, the program advisor for USAID Somalia MaryBeth
McKeever said that advocacy should be focused on community education
communities (CECs). “These communities
are composed of parents, students, teachers, school administrators and
traditional/religious leaders and each school has one.
CECs have been instrumental in increasing girls’ education and can help these
pupil and students make informed choices on decisions that will impact their
health, education and lives. The connection between FGM and education is
twofold: education and awareness about the practice and its risks and general
pupil and students about the dangers of FGM is a powerful tool in changing
public opinion and reversing the trend. However, the importance of overall
education may seem less clear.
International Center for Research on Women published a report on FGM and
education that stated that, while more research needs to be done, “emerging
evidence illustrates that basic education can be an effective instrument for
abandoning the practice of FGM.”
persons are yet to come to terms with the significant relevance of educating
these students as a powerful tool to eradicating the practice of FGM.
was so evident in the research conducted on mothers by International Center for
Research. This research shows that women are less likely to have their
daughters cut as their level of education rises.
exposes students, male and female, to a variety of competing ideas and concepts
and a broader worldview. This allows them to make more informed decisions
regarding their own reproductive health and agency.
emphasizes on the need for school-based interventions and further highlights
the important role (s) that schools can play in ending this practice. Educating
pupils can also give them the freedom to make decisions to improve their lives,
which has deep social implications.
imparting literacy, education also facilitates the pupil’s access to
information about social and legal rights and welfare services.
to read and write can bring greater confidence and agency to identify and
challenge inequality throughout society. .
instance, just as with FGM, low levels of education are a significant risk
factor in perpetuating and experiencing intimate partner violence so the
earlier these pupils are informed the better it is for the society.
further buttress this, the DHS program of 2016 showed that women (which
includes female pupil/students) with higher levels of education are less likely
to have undergone female genital mutilation.
importance of empowering pupils as FGM advocates is an important tool that cannot
be overemphasized. We will briefly discuss on strategies that can work in empowering/
equipping these pupils.
of right education resources is the first pathway towards achieving our aim.
This implies that teachers should be taught and should be able to transfer
right knowledge to the pupils. These resources include; .
- Lesson plans on citizenship and PSHE
teaching resources which have been carefully structured in order to ease
students into sensitive areas of discussion on FGM. Read more here Action Aid:
FGM Teaching Resources.
- Lesson plan on raising awareness of the
practice of FGM and to educate the young about facts, issues and where to seek
help if at risk. Read more here Healthy
Schools: KS3 FGM Lesson.
- Lesson plan to help students distinguish
between myth and fact. This is a great “ice breaker”, which explores why FGM is
perpetuated through such myths and engages pupils on the importance of critical
thinking. Read more here Orchid
Project – Challenging the Myths.
- The use of the award-winning
drama-documentary, “Silent Scream” tells the story of a young Somali girl
living in Bristol. Read more here Documentary – “Silent Scream”.
teaching them, we should endeavor to provide them with IEC materials which will
serve as a guide for them when educating their parents, peers or communities.
should continually increase pupils’ access to education, because educated
pupils (boys or girsl) are less likely to allow their mothers cut them or
subject their future daughters to FGM/C.
EndFGM advocates are inducted amongst pupils, they should be well guided and
should also commit to some actions. These actions include;
- Respectfully educate parents, senior
family members, religious leaders and health professionals on the potential
harmful effects of FGM.
- Support and engage in village/community
campaigns (they should be guided by paretns), which aim to change social norms
at the community level instead of only individual attitudes.
In summary, an educated pupil is a positive hope for eradicating FGM. You are allowed to ask your questions and we would be glad to attend to them all.