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.
on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls and on the
enjoyment of their human rights
genital mutilation (FGM) otherwise known as female genital cutting or female
circumcision, 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”. @WHO
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).
of Type I FGM are: type Ia, removal of the clitoral hood or prepuce only; type
Ib, removal of the clitoris with the prepuce.
II: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or
without excision of the labia majora (excision).
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.
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).
of Type III FGM are: type IIIa, removal and apposition of the labia minora;
type IIIb, removal and apposition of the labia majora.
is covered under this definition. This is a procedure to recreate an
infibulation, for example after childbirth when defibulation is necessary.
IV: unclassified – all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for
nonmedical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and
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.
For additional reading on FGM you can visit http://www.who.int and www.endcuttinggirls.org or watch
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. Family as we
all know include both nuclear and extended family. They both play important
role in the life of a girl child.
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.
which is extended can be said that as a combination of several nuclear
families. Extended family consists of people who are closely related. They may
be living together or in the same vicinity.
and Mother-in-law, cousins, Nephew, Niece are part of an extended family. A
mother-in-law is the mother of your spouse who could either be the mother of
the wife or husband.
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.
encourage 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.
family circle can also provide emotional and physical support if needed.
Grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins actively play significant roles in an
that the kid is loved even beyond their own immediate family. It will allow
them to learn 3 specific core values, namely, loyalty, responsibility and
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.
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.
it 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
years ago, generations lived together on farms or in urban tenements and
everyone pitched in to care for children, put meals on the table and maintain
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.
influences include social pressure to conform to peers, perception of FGM as
necessary to raise a girl properly and prepare her for adulthood and marriage
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.
countries, most families live closely together, making it very easy for them to
pass down norms like FGM to the younger generation. This also allows them to
have direct impact on every nuclear family.
aware of the fact that protecting the child from gender-based violence (GBV) is
a responsibility of everyone, we can’t also deny the fact that we must support
the nuclear family who are the closest and immediate contact to the child.
that the nuclear family 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. Nuclear family is primarily focused on imparting information, education
and skills health related interventions about FGM.
support 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 (this will involve parents passing relevant
information about FGM to other parents).
parents might also come in the form early childhood education, school-parent
liaison, family meditation, child protection and family welfare services.
the religious environments could be targeted and advocates should extend the
information and educate them on dangers of FGM.
checks on the mother and babies should be considered by EndFGM 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.
World Bank analysis demonstrates that FGM can be reduced, particularly when
mothers are better educated.
In a less
intensive form, supporting families can come in form of making information
available on websites, booklets, television and radio campaigns and telephone
educational 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.
and Mother-in-Law are important in every grandchild’s life. Grand parenting
styles vary and each individual brings their unique ‘self’ to the experience
including culture, ethnicity, gender, race, family traditions, family structure
and personal history.
has a record-breaking number of grandparents, representing almost 20 percent of
the global population. “Today’s grandparents play vital and increasingly
indispensable roles in modern family life, contributing to the well-being of
generations succeeding them”.
and Mother-in-Laws are family members and form an important element of the
extended family. In traditional cultures, grandparents often have a direct and
clear role in relation to the care and nurture of children.
and Mother-in-Laws usually exercise their authority on family matters, and
their descendants obey them because of their age and position. This kind of structure gradually eases with
the increasing influence of western culture and the increasing number of
suggests that children find unique acceptance in their relationships with some
extended families, which benefits them emotionally and mentally. They can be a
major support during family disruptions. Sometimes they’re playmates. Some of
tis extended families are often role models and mentors for younger
generations. They are also historians — teaching values, instilling ethnic
heritage and passing on family traditions.
some of this family members are illiterate, or are not conversant with the
structures of the modern world, this has in turn affected them in understanding
the implications and consequences of FGM but educating them in their Local
languages can also help in propagating an end to FGM.
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.
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
regions take the communal approach to child rearing, educating and informing
people in that region could also serve as a support system to parents.
think about , many of us assume that men are holding girls and women back
through patriarchal norms. But families have traditionally been one of the
greatest hindrances in stopping any norms and reorienting them can help to
grandmothers and Mother-in-Laws, cousins and uncles treat the girl-child in the
family in a more relaxed and permissive manner than they even treat their own
children. As a result, children often feel more comfortable discussing
sensitive issues with them than with their own parents.
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.
showed that certain harmful practices are promoted by extended families in
various cultures, given the wide-ranging role they play and their influence and
intrinsic commitment to promoting the well-being of women and children, they
should be viewed as key actors in the campaign to .
families like Grandmother, they have been shown to have a role to play in
maintaining culture. They also have a
role in maintaining and nurturing grandchildren to grow up valuing traditional
morals and beliefs.
families, Grandmothers and Mother-in-Laws can function as Primary Care Givers;
Grandmothers and Mother-in-Laws have a prominent and influential role within
the family and are commonly in charge of child rearing when the mother is
employed, sick or more commonly in our setting.
around the world acknowledge that grandmothers and Mother-in-Laws play an
influential role in the socialization, acculturation, and care of children as
they grow and develop and in the education and supervision of their daughters
they pass down culture of FGM from generation-to-generation making them believe
that its compulsory that a girl should be mutilated, but partnering with them
will also help in finding an alternative to some of these harmful cultures,
which will now be pass from generation to generations.
their importance listed above, it’s important we partner with families both
nuclear and extended to EndFGM, this could be done through Proper Education on
the dangers surrounding FGM.
have the potential to significantly change the power dynamics within a
community – and if they use their influence for good – thereby foregoing old
traditions like FGM – these harmful traditional practices will be abandoned.
with families will help us in this
generation because of their experience and their impact in different
conclusion partnering with the families (Nuclear and extended) 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.
point, I will give room for questions and contributions from participants. Thank
you for joining us.