Mutilation (FGM) includes all procedures that involve the partial or total
removal of external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for
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 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.
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 labia majora.
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
Subgroups of Type
III FGM are: type IIIa, removal and apposition of the labia minora; type IIIb,
removal and apposition of the labia majora.
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.
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.
It is estimated
that over 200 million girls and women worldwide are living with the effects of
FGM, and every year some 3 million girls and women are at risk of FGM and are
therefore exposed to its potential negative health consequences (UNICEF 2016)
FGM is mostly
carried out by traditional circumcisers, who play other central roles in
communities, such as Traditional Birth Attendants.
In many settings,
health care providers perform FGM due to the erroneous belief that the
procedure is safer when medicalized.
of FGM refers to “situations in which the procedure (including re-infibulation)
is practised by any category of health-care provider, whether in a public or a
private clinic, at home or elsewhere, at any point in time in a woman’s life”.
providers who agree to perform FGM are violating the fundamental medical
ethical principle or duty of non-maleficence (“do no harm”) and the fundamental
principle of providing the highest quality health care possible.
FGM has no health
benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and
damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the
natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies.
widespread in Nigeria with regional and ethnic variations in prevalence. According
to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 2016 -2017), 18.4% of women aged
15-49 years had undergone FGM, a decrease from 27% (2011). Conversely, the FGM prevalence among
daughters aged 0-14 years rose from 19.2% (2011) to 25.3% (2016-2017).
The reason for practicing FGM include to 1) Enhance Fertility: 2) Respect for Tradition: 3) Rite Of Passage; 4) Social Convention; 5) Marriageability; 6) Ensure Virginity, Chastity and Faithfulness; 7) Cleanliness; 8) Femininity; and 9) Religion.
deep-rooted inequality between the sexes. This aspect, and the fact that FGM is
an embedded sociocultural practice, has made its complete elimination extremely
Joint Programme on Eliminating FGM: Accelerating Change” is being implemented
to end FGM in 16 countries including Nigeria. It commences in 2008, while Nigeria joined in
2014. Phase III began in Jan. 2018 and will end by Dec. 2021. The UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM is playing
a mammoth role in achieving Target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goal, which
calls for the elimination of all harmful practices by 2030, under Goal 5 of the
In Nigeria, one
of the strategies adopted by the “UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Eliminating
FGM: Accelerating Change” is Theatre for Development. We shall discuss the
process and how it can pay a vital role in the campaign to end FGM.
Theatre for Development
(TFD) refers to a community-based or participatory theatre practice aimed at
promoting dialogue on social and development issues
communities can be empowered, key information can be shared, and problems can
the primary objective for TFD as the promotion of civic dialogue within the
communities in order to stimulate social debates.
TFD has been
utilized in several intervention program across different countries, with
positive results. More
rural areas in Guinea through inclusion of several radio stations in TFD
efforts, were able to overcome a communication barrier aiding in curtailing the
spread of the Ebola virus. Social media and theatre outlets were used as
key tools in raising HIV/AIDS awareness amongst youths in Botswana.
In the context of
#FGM, similar ventures for improving communication in hard to reach areas and
across hard to reach groups are being explored.
A stage drama on FGM Abandonment was presented at the Public Declaration of FGM Abandonment by the Izzi clan of Ebonyi state
activities like public declarations and other traditional ceremonies, dramas,
jingles, etc, can be used to break communication barriers with regard to
Tools of theatre
for development serve to both captivate the audience via storytelling in a
relatable manner, and also pass on key messages that go a long way in shaping
the way the audience approach issues around FGM
The processes of TFD
writing, producing and performing; It is important to have an outline of what
you want to happen, what direction the story should take and how it will be
Art, music, song,
dance; It is important to select a expression that connects best with the
best suits the actors
Analyzing problems; it
is important to address the problem and explore it from different angles that
will reflect the audience, without losing the key messages to
Audience; it is important to have a representation of all the
key influencers in FGM situations; children engaging with adults and other
children, community leaders, parents and family members.
It is also important
to include key figures and leaders in all processes of TFD, as their input and
continued involvement ensures ease of proceedings, with every player on the same
In this video, Students from Osun state, bid farewell to FGM in a bid to EndFGM
Not only do the
participants in these productions share important messages to , they
also are able to voice their opinions and thoughts through creative expression.
TFD has been a
key tool in FGM intervention as a means to include more community actors in the
campaign to #endFGM
Dramas can be
utilized by school-aged children, radio jingles by workers going about their
day, short skits by families enjoying leisure times in front of the TV and many
Secondary school kids share an inspired song on FGM abandonment
Little girl sings about FGM abandonment
As a form of
entertainment-education, TFD will continue to be an immense tool for
communicating the dangers and legal implications of carrying out FGM at all
levels and for all audiences
Survivors of FGM
can also get useful information via TFD, and reporting guidelines amongst
communities can be shared as well.
I will end the presentation at this point, please send in your
questions and comments lets discuss further on how we can in our communities using TFD.