Anchor: Cynthia Omo
It is a worrisome the fact that at
least 200 million girls and women alive today across some 30 countries of the
world have undergone FGM.
Gladly, concerted global efforts, such as the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint
Programme on Elimination of FGM: Accelerating Change, has seen an overall
decline in the prevalence of the practice over the last three decades.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in 1997 as all procedures that involve partial
or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the
female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
classified by WHO into 4 types based on process and extent of mutilation with
FGM 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
FGM Type II: Partial or total
removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the
labia majora (excision)
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
FGM 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).
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
Type 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.
3 million girls and women are subjected to one form of FGM or another. The
World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that the practice of FGM has no
known benefit to the survivors, family or the society at large.
that FGM has no know benefit, it is important that efforts are intensified to
ensure that we protect the feminine gender from further harm both the born and
information about basic facts about FGM, visit www.endcuttinggirls.org Also
do well to follow the handle “Endcuttinggirls Nigeria’’ on all social media
platforms for constant updates about the EndFGM campaign.
You can also visit who.int or watch
Now let us talk about today’s conference, we
will be focusing on Equipping girls with Life building skills and empowering
them to become “EndFGM Advocates” in Nigeria
is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15years. This is,
therefore, a reason for us to amplify efforts in equipping girls with Life
building skills and also empowering them to become #EndFGM advocates.
young girls with adequate information will help to shape their attitudes and
influence their future behaviour towards the abandonment of FGM.
One of the key
things that we must first understand about empowering any individual (Girls and
women) is that it begins with education.
is good to note that, topics around FGM have been integrated into the formal/non-formal
education sectors in Nigeria, which makes it less of a taboo for young girls to
receive accurate information.
Now that FGM
has been included in the curriculum in Nigeria, the next step on the ladder of
empowering girls to becoming #EndFGM advocates would be equipping them with
Life building skills.
Skills: Special competencies a person
acquires over a period of time to correctly perform a task or correctly deal
with specific situations.
Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life (Source: World Health Organisation (WHO), 1993).
skills’ refers to a broad group of psychosocial competences and interpersonal
skills that help people make informed decisions, solve problems, think critically,
communicate effectively, build health relationships, empathise with others, and
cope with and manage their lives in a healthy and productive manner.
skills may be directed toward personal actions or actions toward others. It can
also be directed towards actions to change the surrounding environment to make
it conducive to health.
health education is an approach to creating or maintaining healthy lifestyles
and conditions through the development of knowledge, attitudes, and especially
skills, using variety of learning experiences, with an emphasis on
participatory methods. (Source: WHO, 2003).
is no definitive list of life skills. However, some important psychosocial and
interpersonal skills may be grouped into three broad categories, namely; 1)
Decision-Making and Critical Thinking Skills; 2) Communication and
Interpersonal Skills; and 3) Coping and Self-Management Skills.
skills listed are interrelated and complement one another. However, different skills apply to different
situations, but many skills can be applied to one situation.
there are so many such skills, we have listed 10 core life skills that are
required by young people to become EndFGM Advocates. These are 1) Self-awareness; 2) Empathy; 3) Critical
thinking; 4) Creative thinking; 5) Decision making; 6) Problem solving; 7) Effective
communication; 8) Interpersonal relationship; 9) Coping with stress; and 10) Coping
has to do with the recognition of ‘self’. Our character, our strengths and
weaknesses, desires and dislikes.
this skill (Self-awareness) will help women and girls recognize when they are
being pressured into making harmful decisions like deciding to cut or be cut.
Empathy – helps us improve social
interactions and accept others who may be different from us especially in
situations of ethnic or cultural diversity. This skill (Empathy) will help
reduce discrimination against women who have been cut. It’d also cater for
women who engage in female genital mutilation due to discrimination/fear of acceptance
Critical thinking is an ability to analyze
information and experiences in an objective manner. It helps us assess the
factors that influence values, peer pressure, etc. This skill (Critical
thinking) will enable women and girls to think and rethink serious decisions
like getting cut or not and the risk factors involved.
Creative thinking is basically a way of seeing
things that reflects fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration. This
skill (Creative thinking) is necessary for women and girls as it helps them
find new and creative ways to keep themselves and others around them out of
Decision making –is a process of taking a
definite position on a particular issue on which action must be taken. It is
the act of making up one’s mind on an issue or a thing. This skill (Decision
making) will help women and girls make informed and prompt decisions about
their lives and health. Especially in cases where risks arise as a result of
Effective communication – this speaks of the ability to
express ourselves both verbally and non-verbally, in ways that are appropriate to
our cultures and situations. This skill (Effective communication) is vital to
women and girls because it breaks the culture of silence and helps them express
their desires, needs and fears. This may mean being able to ask for advice or
help in time of need.
building skills education contributes to basic education, child care and
protection, promotion of lifelong learning and quality of life. When women and
girls are equipped with these skills, they feel better empowered to stand as
Previous EndFGM campaigns have been
focused mainly on empowering older women to prevent the incidence of FGM.
Currently, we would highly recommend that be actively young girls be carried
along in the campaign and their enlightenment should be made a priority just
like the enlightenment of older women. .
As part of the efforts to empower
young Girls as #EndFGM change agents in Nigeria, The Output 2 of the Phase 3 of
the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on Elimination of FGM (UNJP) result framework
girls’ and women’s assets and capabilities to exercise their rights”
The UNJP supports capacity building
skills for girls–educated or not–based on competencies, and through
comprehensive sexual education programs, professional development and programs
of “Girl Club’s”
The aim of the capacity building is
to integrate FGM in the life building skills training of girls with the
objective of making them agents of change in their families and their
communities. Alternatively, Life Skills
Building can be mainstreamed into EndFGM interventions for young girls.
Currently these capacity building
programmes for Girls in and out-of-school is currently going in many
communities in the five joint programme pilot states (#Osun, #Ekiti, #Ebonyi,
#Imo, and #Oyo) in Nigeria. The girls that undergo these empowerment programs
have become EndFGM advocates and are now leading the campaign to end the
practice of FGM in their schools, families and communities.
In conclusion, young girls are major
stakeholders in the fight against FGM and must be empower as End FGM change
It’s time to hear and respond to
your questions and/or opinions based on the conference. Keep them coming. .