Female genital mutilation (FGM) is an
internationally recognized issue owing to its adverse impacts on physical and
psychosocial wellbeing and erosion of sexual and reproductive health rights among
Most of the estimated 200 million girls
and women living today throughout 29 countries were victims of genital
mutilation by the age of 15, making it a global violation of human rights.
Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as
“all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female
genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for nonmedical reasons.
World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies FGM into 4 types. WHO classifies FGM
into four categories with subdivisions;
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
Type II: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or
without excision of the labia majora (excision)
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 IIc: partial or total removal of the clitoris, the
labia minora and the labia majora
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).
2 subdivisions are, FGM Type IIIa: removal and a positioning the labia minora
with or without excision of the clitoris; and FGM Type IIIb: removal and a
positioning the labia majora with or without excision of the clitoris
4 Unclassified; refers to all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia
for non-medical purposes, including cauterization, pulling, incision, piercing,
pricking, and scrapping for non-medical reasons.
year 3 million girls and women are at risk of FGM and are therefore exposed to
the potential negative health consequences of this harmful practice.
has no known health benefits, and those girls and women who have undergone the
procedure are at great risk of suffering from its complications throughout
procedure of FGM is painful and traumatic, and is often performed under
unsterile conditions by a traditional practitioner who has little knowledge of
female anatomy or how to manage possible adverse events.
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
practice of FGM is prevalent in 30 countries in Africa and in a few countries
in Asia and the Middle East, but also present across the globe due to
practice is deeply rooted in a strong cultural and social framework. It is
endorsed by the practicing community and is supported by loving parents who
believe that undergoing FGM is in the best interest of their daughter.
beliefs sustaining the practice of FGM vary greatly from one community to
another, although there are many common themes. However, the primary reason is
that it is part of the history and cultural tradition of the community.
its cultural importance, we need to acknowledge the fact that FGM is a harmful
traditional practice that violates the rights of girls and women. Therefore, FGM has to be eliminated.
practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play
other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths.
is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and
women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an
extreme form of discrimination against women.
practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical
integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment. It is also a violation of the right to life when the procedure
results in death.
more information about FGM you can visit http://www.who.int or watch https://youtu.be/f0-dYD9cYKo
The family is an intimate domestic group made
up of people related to one another by bonds of blood, sexual mating or legal
ties. It is the smallest and most basic social unit, which is also the most
important primary group found in any society.
It is the simplest and most elementary group
found in a society. It is a social group consisting of a father, mother and one
or more children. It is the most immediate group a child is exposed to.
In fact, it is the most enduring group, which
has tremendous influence on the life of an individual, from birth until death.
It also accounts for the most enduring social relationship found in society.
A family, which is usually made up of people
who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption, is very important to most
Nigerians and Africa at large.
An extended family is a family
that extends beyond the nuclear family, consisting of
parents like father, mother, and their children, aunts, uncles, grandparents,
and cousins, all living in the same household.
family which is extended can be said that as a combination of several nuclear
family consists of people who are closely related. They may be living together
or in the same vicinity.
There’s an old
saying: “It takes a village to raise a child.” In cases like these, it is
especially true because extended relatives have a significant impact on healthy
development in nurturing a child.
a sense of belonging and a strong support system for parents to reinforce
various aspects of discipline.
children typically bond with their immediate family members first, such as
parents and siblings.
circle can also provide emotional and physical support if needed. Grandparents,
aunties, uncles and cousins actively play significant roles in an infant’s
It shows that
the kid is loved even beyond their own immediate family. It will allow them to
learn 3 specific core values: loyalty, responsibility and independency.
Family is one
of the most important relationships a person can have in their life. Whether
it’s nuclear or extended family relations, it is equally important to maintain
and establish strong connections with them.
There are many
advantages sustaining this family dynamic. Extended family relations affect the
outcome of a child’s behaviour and character. It transmits the principles and
practices of modern society in a very saturated way.
gives kids much more experience and exposure on different interest and ideas that
are important lessons which parents may not be able to teach (e.g. collective
learning of cooperative work, stability, cultural identity and sense of
The key characteristic of the extended family
is that there are multiple adults in the family that are not parents of the
children, though they may also have parent-like roles and share in the
responsibilities for providing for the whole family, either by contributing
financially or in other ways.
Maintaining positive relationships
between children and their extended family members should be encouraged and
continued. Failure to do so can result in another loss for the children.
contexts where FGM
is a social
norm, families and
individuals uphold the practice
because they believe
that their group
or society expects them to do so.
Abandonment of the practice requires a process of social change that results in
new expectations on families.
The approach of strengthening the role of the
extended family in protecting girls and women from FGM will further help the
campaign for FGM elimination to happen faster because of the expectations from
families where FGM is a Social Norm.
The fact that extended Families are
larger in population is a major advantage to reach more people with Key FGM messages
and when they accept it, it makes organized diffusion happen fast.
Notable Extended Families who act as
role models and influencers can be trained and sensitised on the subject matter
and thereafter encouraged to pass on the same messages to their nuclear family
and other families in their community.
These Extended families can be
engaged through open discussions about problems facing the community such as
those emanating from FGM.
Innovative methods such as
storytelling and songs can be employed to inform Extended Families on the
subject of FGM and its harmful consequences.
This approach will enable Extended
Families to identify FGM as a problem and reach consensus on possible solutions
that best suit their needs, which can lead to a sustained change in attitude.
Extended Families will be encouraged
to strengthen positive cultural traditions and discard harmful ones such as
This approach will advocate holistic
upbringing of women and girls’ intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral, and
psychological well-being as an alternative right of passage to FGM
Families having learnt about the dangers of FGM can turn advocates to end the
practice and as such influence some other families to stop FGM in their
extended families will also enable them educate their children not to cut their
girls and women.
have the inherent capacity to help in leading the community to a collective
decision towards the abandonment of FGM as families make up the community.
extended family approach will bridge the cross/inter-generation communication
gap with an aim of changing behaviours towards ending FGM.
addition, extended family members are always consulted in several of their
children’s marriage and family affairs. This underlines the overriding need to
carry families along in the end FGM campaign.
converted they can use their influence positively to ensure that all new born
girl-children remain uncut.
family gatherings can be leveraged on to generally sensitize them about the
dangers of FGM.
can in turn become end FGM advocates which will be a big plus to the campaign.
we look for solutions to FGM, we must remember that it is not just about eliminating
FGM, It is also about empowerment through educating families and the
communities at large.
FGM is about raising consciousness so that people can change their attitudes
toward this harmful cultural practice.
self-worth should not be tied to undergoing FGM; rather, women should be
respected because of their positive contributions to Nation building.
elimination of FGM is a health, social, and economic issue to be vigorously
pursued by all members of the society.
conclusion, Extended Families remain major stakeholders in the campaign for a
FGM-free society, strengthening and empowering them as advocates is the key.
will stop here so that I can accommodate and provide answer to your questions.
we will end FGM in this generation.