It is estimated that more than 200 million
girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in the
countries where the practice is concentrated. There is an estimated 3 million girls at risk
of undergoing female genital mutilation every year.
impacts on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls and
on the enjoyment of their human rights.
mutilation (FGM) is defined as “all procedures that involve the partial or
total removal of the external female genitalia or any other injury to the
female genital organs for non-medical reasons”.
In other words, it is
any procedure that causes injury to the female genitals without medical
The World Health
Organization (@WHO), classifies FGM into four broad types, based on the
anatomical extent of the procedure: …
(Clitoridectomy): This refers to the partial or total removal of the clitoris
and/or the prepuce (the fold of skin covering the clitoris). This is also
referred to as ‘Sunna’.
Type II (Excision):
Removal (in part or whole) of the clitoris and labia minora. The labia majora
may or may not be removed.
(Infibulation): Here, the vaginal orifice is narrowed, and a covering seal
created by cutting and repositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora.
The clitoris may also be removed. It is sometimes referred to as ‘Pharaonic’.
(Unclassified): Any other harmful procedure performed on the female genitalia
for non-medical purposes, for example: pricking, piercing and incision of the
clitoris and/or labia, stretching and/or cutting of the vagina (‘gishiri’),
scraping of tissue surrounding the vaginal opening (‘angurya’) and
It also includes the
introduction of corrosive substances into the vagina to cause bleeding or to
tighten or narrow the vagina, as well as massaging the clitoris with hot water
or petroleum jelly to de-sensitize the clitoris (common in Imo State).
FGM functions as a
self-enforcing social convention or social norm. In societies where it is
practiced, it is a socially upheld behavioural rule. Families and individuals
continue to perform FGM because they believe that their community expects them
to do so.
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, 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
For additional reading on FGM you can visit http://www.who.int and www.endcuttinggirls.org or watch
One of the reasons why
the practice of FGM has persisted in some communities is because it is a
social-taboo and influenced by cultural, tradition and religion.
include social pressure to conform to peers, perception of FGM as necessary to
raise a girl properly and prepare her for adulthood and marriage e.t.c.
In most FGM practicing
communities, the issue of FGM is not an open discussed and this has made most
people unaware of the negative consequences of the practice on the health and
wellbeing of their girls and women.
We are aware of the
fact that protecting the child from gender based violence is a responsibility
of everyone, we can’t also deny the fact that we must support the parents who
are the closest and immediate contact to the child
It means that the
parent is the most important part of the child life and support should be given
to them and they should be exposed to the dangers of FGM
Parenting support is
primarily focused on imparting information, education and skills health related
interventions about FGM
includes informing and educating parents and this is delivered through home
visits, creating educational programme in the community, one on one counselling
or peer mentoring
Peer mentoring for
parents should be around parent relevant information about FGM, educations and skills.
might also come in the form early childhood education, school-parent liaison,
family meditation, child protection and family welfare services.
Parents in the
religious environments could be targeted and advocates should extend the
information and educate them on dangers of FGM.
Health checks on the
mother and babies should be considered by community champions so as to get
adequate information from CBC about FGM and also frequent checks should be made
to the parents of the newly born girl child
In a less intensive
form, supporting parents can come in form of making information available on
websites, booklets, television and radio campaigns and telephone help lines.
programmes should be one of the most important forms of parenting support which
can be delivered through different platforms and can cut across all parents
irrespective of backgrounds
Government, NGOS and
various organizations who are dedicated to eliminating FGM should reach out
through home visits to parents of newly born girl child and provide the
information and support needed to protect the girl child
mobilizing community support can also be adopted by community champions/
advocates in a particular geographic location and community.
Enabling networks and
networking by generating social support amongst parents of girl child could
also be adopted as support for parents in protecting their child against FGM.
Some regions take the
communal approach to child rearing, educating and informing people in that
region could also serve as a support system to parents.
supporting the parents (mothers& fathers) would go a long way to protect
the girl child from FGM because they are the immediate contact to the child and
they are responsible for the child upbringing.
At this point, there
would be room for questions and suggestions relating to FGM and the topic
Together We Will End
Female Genital Mutilation In This Generation