Female 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.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified FGM into four types,
and they are all practiced 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 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
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 has short terms and long term
effects on the health and well-being of girls and women. Short term effects of
FGM include: severe pain, excessive bleeding, shock, genital tissue swelling,
infections, while the long term effects include chronic genital infections,
urinary tract infections, painful urination, keloids, perinatal risks, etc.
FGM is recognized
internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. FGM practice violates women and girls’ rights to
health, security and physical integrity, rights to be free from torture and
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and rights to life (when the procedure
results in death)
For more information about FGM you can visit http://www.who.int or watch
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 women.
is estimated that about 200 million girls/women have undergone FGM and about 3
million girls/women per year are at risk.
Unless action to end FGM is accelerated, another 68 million girls will
have been cut by 2030 (Antonio Guterres – UN Sec. Gen.)
Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (2016-17) revealed that 18.4% of women aged
15-49 years had undergone FGM, a decrease from 27% (2011). Conversely, the FGM prevalence among
daughters (0-14 years) rose from 19.2% (2011) to 25.3% (2016-17).
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), and these communities are composed of parents, students,
teachers, school administrators and traditional/religious leaders and each
school has one.
education communities (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.
connection between FGM and education is twofold: education and awareness about
the practice and its risks and general educational attainment.
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.” Several 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. Education 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.
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. Learning 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 2013 NDHS in Nigeria shows 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/students 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. We should continually
increase pupils’ access to education, because educated pupils (boys or girls)
are less likely to allow their mothers cut them or subject their future
daughters to FGM.
EndFGM advocates are inducted amongst pupils, they should be well guided and
should also commit to some actions. These two actions are listed below…
educate parents, senior family members, religious leaders and health
professionals on the potential harmful effects of FGM.
and engage in village/community campaigns (they should be guided by parents),
which aim to change social norms at the community level instead of only
every school in Nigeria have school clubs and mainstreaming EndFGM into their
activities will help strengthen the campaign against FGM, it keeps reminding
the students on reasons why they shouldn’t support the act, what they should do
when they see anyone standing the risk of been cut.
only that, a topic consistently discussed becomes a norm amidst them and
anything that looks like it becomes a taboo to them and that’s because it’s a
talk they hear every time, the teacher once taught on it, the club members
presented on it and the drama students once acted a drama on the subject
year (2018) UNICEF Supported School based #endFGM activities in some selected
secondary schools in from the five project states (Osun, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo and
Oyo State). The project targeted young secondary school students.
as a result of school based activities such as this that provided an
opportunity for a student to refuse to be cut, which initiated the events that
led to the first ever public declaration
of FGM in Nigeria by the people of Izzi Clan in Ebonyi State. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kevlo0KXJQE
of the recent happenings in FGM practicing communities where Girls
travel outside their states to present themselves for FGM secretly due to peer
pressure, targeting school clubs can help reduce such pressure.
still partnering with existing school clubs across the five project states to
build their capacity through life skill training for in and out of school
Building skill Progarmme will empower Students will to the elimination of
harmful practices as proposed by Target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs), the UNJP has commenced Phase III (2018-2021). The vision is to “contribute to the elimination of FGM by
2030”. The goal is “to accelerate efforts towards the reduction
of FGM, fulfilling the rights of girls and women by realizing social and gender
norms transformation by 2021”.
expected outcomes of Phase III of the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on Elimination
of FGM are:
1: Countries have an enabling environment for the elimination of FGM practices
at all levels and in line with human rights standards.
2: Girls and women are empowered to exercise and express their rights by
transforming social and gender norms in communities to eliminate FGM.
3: Girls and women access appropriate, quality and systemic services for FGM
prevention, protection and care.
4: Countries have better capacity to generate and use evidence and data for
policymaking and improving programming.
the capacity of school clubs in are built on the area of ending FGM, Schools
with Press and Debate club can come up with inter class debate on topics on
the press clubs can organize a writing or speech or poem contest on the subject
matter, student tends to believe their own research more than what they were
ordinarily told. The school art club can
organize a poster competition which can be inter class or even interschool,
some people get communicated to more with images and music that writing or even
what they were told.
school newscasters can adopt a closing statement that they will always close
their news with, words like this that is always repeated every time they listen
to the school newscasters can help it become a norm faster.
Before I end the presentation, its good we Note
that FGM is treated as a harmful traditional practice under Physical and health
Education in the Junior Secondary School Curriculum in Nigeria.
At this point, I will step aside to
entertain your questions or comments or contributions. Thank you so much for
participating at this conference and we hope you had a great time learning our