TWEET CONFERENCE SCRIPT: COVID-19 and EndFGM: Amplifying campaign messages through Television programmes

By Dare Olagoke-Adaramoye (@dareadaramoye)

10.06.2020

Girls are frequently caught in a cross-cultural mesh of tradition of female circumcision and an increasing backlash against the dangers and violations of the practice.

The media- Television provides a space for discussion, entertainment, education, sharing of experiences, access to resources and help for girls who have undergone FGM or may be at risk.

It is estimated that over 200 million girls and women worldwide are living with or at risk of suffering the associated negative health consequences of FGM.

Every 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.

Female 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.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies FGM into 4 types. WHO classifies FGM/C into four categories with subdivisions.

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). The 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 IIIc: 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).

The 2 subdivisions are, FGM Type IIIa: removal and appositioning the labia minora with or without excision of the clitoris; and FGM Type IIIb: removal and appositioning the labia majora with or without excision of the clitoris.

FGM 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 their lives.

FGM of any type is a violation of the human rights of girls and women. FGM is known to be harmful to girls and women in many ways.

The removal of or damage to healthy, normal genital tissue interferes with the natural functioning of the body and causes several immediate and long-term physical, psychological and sexual consequences. Results show that when women’s and girls’ human rights are reinforced and legally protected, FGM declines or is abandoned altogether.

FGM is global, but so is the movement to end it.

“At a time when the Africa-led momentum to end FGM is growing, it is vital that we do not lose the opportunity to protect more girls and women from this huge violation of their rights especially during this global pandemic caused by COVID-19.”

“Change can happen through sustained media attention on the damaging public health consequences of FGM, as well as on the abuse of the rights of hundreds of thousands of women and girls around the world,”

For society at large, the Television plays a crucial role in bringing FGM into the public consciousness and opening dialogue with the ultimate aim of helping to safeguard the rights and wellbeing of young girls.

Electronic media is defined as broadcast or storage media that take advantage of electronic technology. They may include television which is our focus for today, radio, Internet, fax, CD-ROMs, DVD, and any other medium that requires electricity or digital encoding of information.

Television (TV) is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome (black and white), or in colour, and in two or three dimensions and sound.

The term can refer to a television set, a television program (“TV show”), or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising, entertainment and news.

Television became available in crude experimental forms in the late 1920s, but it would still be several years before the new technology would be marketed to consumers.

Television consumption has for decades constituted a major part of media consumption in Western culture. According to a Nielsen report, United States adults are watching five hours and four minutes of television per day on average (35.5 h/week, slightly more than 77 days per year).

With the latest evolution of technology and lockdown due to COVID-19, most television stations now work for over 12hours per day. Some work for 24hours each day!

TV stations now stream online and a whole lot of them are migrating to cable network entertaining people with information, news, commercial, musicals, drama and lots more.

The TV is just another big opportunity for the campaign to eliminate FGM through the use of drama, skits, musical, jingles and documentaries targeted at sensitizing and educating people on the need to eliminate FGM.

Why the campaign to eliminate FGM should leverage on TV during COVID-19 lockdown

TV HAS STRONG IMPACT ON VIEWERS: No other medium has the longevity and power to influence than television. More people learn about a new product because of television advertising than any other means.The combination of audio and visual elements offers the amazing capability to reach multiple senses simultaneously.

PEOPLE SPEND MORE TIME WITH TV: Viewers still use the TV screen for the bulk of their viewing and spend more time doing so than all the other platforms combined. Insights gleaned from Nielsen’s fourth-quarter 2016 Comparable Metrics Report found that over 92% of all viewing among U.S. adults happens via the TV screen.

PEOPLE CAN WATCH TV ANYWHERE: Access helps. So does the fact that video is the most preferred content format, especially with millennials. The increasing popularity of tablets and smart phones, access to WiFi and better data plans will continue to facilitate a rise in VOD audiences. Out of Home viewing also occurs via TV monitors in airports, fitness clubs, bars and even at some gas pumps.

TV ATTRACTS LOYAL VIEWERS: Live entertainment, sports and popular serial television shows attract a loyal, attentive audience. Enough to say that appointment viewing is still alive and well.

Reach: Based on the compiled data, TV reaches approximately 70% of a country’s population a day, 90% in a week and nearly everyone in a month. It is the unique combination of this reach together with the huge volume of time spent watching TV that makes it such a powerful form of advertising. For example: In Finland, television reaches 97% of the population within a month.

Popularity:  TV, in all its forms, is the world’s favourite video. On average, based on the available data, TV accounts for 90% of the average viewer’s video time. For the younger millennial audience, who are the most enthusiastic experimenters with all forms of video, it is also the largest proportion of their video time at around 73% of the total. For example: In the Netherlands, TV accounts for 94,4% of all video time for the total population.

Resilience: Over the past decade, TV has proven remarkably resilient in an era of immense disruption. Despite the emergence of new SVOD services such as Netflix and the arrival of online video platforms such as YouTube, TV consumption has remained steadfast around the globe. Life stage also continues to be a significant driver of TV viewing.

Trust and impact: TV is the most trusted form of advertising and remains most likely to make consumers laugh, move them to tears or trigger emotions.

Effectiveness: Advertisers invest in TV advertising because it works. Studies around the world demonstrate TV’s many effects – and the positive impact it has on other media.

Due to its importance, reach and effectiveness, TV have a pivotal role to play in the campaign for the elimination of FGM.

Education is very key in the elimination of FGM because the fact that FGM is a social norm that is deeply rooted in culture and tradition based on myth.

TV stations should rise up to the challenge by promoting awareness of FGM and educating listeners and viewers about the facts of the harmful practise and how to stop it.

Briefly, let’s look into how we can leverage on Television to amplify the campaign for the elimination of FGM during this lockdown session.

Educating and entertaining: To be effective, messaging about FGM must be both educational and entertaining.

TV programmes such as soap opera, drama serial, skits can be created to inform their audiences about the consequences of FGM while, at the same time, achieving market success.

TV stations should talk about FGM: One of the most obvious roles of TV stations is to open channels of communication and foster discussion about FGM and interpersonal relationships.

A live and recorded TV programme that focuses on FGM elimination should be constantly air on TV station. Such programmes may include but not limited to Interviews, phone-in programmes, dairy of survivors where FGM survivors can willing share their experiences.

TV stations can promote FGM services: Collaboration between broadcasters, grass-roots organizations, service providers and government agencies can help to ensure that vital services, such as counselling and even treatment and care of people suffering from the consequence of FGM, are available on the ground.

Putting FGM on the news agenda and encouraging leaders to take action: Another key area for media involvement in AIDS education efforts is ensuring that the topic is kept at the top of the news agenda.

Giving the harmful practice of FGM prominent news coverage will go along way at creating awareness about the elimination of the practice.

Dedicating airtime/space to FGM public service messages and video skit during favourite TV programmes will help the campaign grow bigger.

Making public service messages and original programming available to other outlets on a rights-free basis.

Participation in live broadcast will bring the message to a wide audience and inform/educate the public about ending FGM.

TV is a great window in our society which helps us to know more information about the world events; by using TV we tend to pass out more information visually which sinks more into memory.

Today information is everywhere. But TV has a particular authority. If you see something on TV, you know that millions of others are also seeing it, and that it has been verified. That’s why television remains the most popular and trusted platform for news, culture, sports and entertainment.

Great television programmes create communities around them. TV shows, live events and news make animated conversation for friends, family and colleagues. They bind people together and trigger reactions on social networks.

Its unrivalled reach and emotional power, television enables effective calls for action during humanitarian crises, natural disasters and social emergencies. It reaches out to society through programmes and communication campaigns on various issues.

Television has powerful visual nature which this powerful visual nature helps television to create vivid impressions in our minds which in turn leads to emotional involvement which makes television more memorable.

At this point, we will draw the curtain on this session, as we invite you to ask questions and make contributions. #COVID19 #endcuttinggirls

Please when asking your question, remember to use the hashtag  and to tweet at @endcuttinggirls

For more information about Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting, visit our website: www.endcuttinggirls.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using @endcuttinggirls

Follow our Conversations and updates on UNICEF end FGM Community level activities across the 5 focal states (#Osun, #Ebonyi, #Ekiti, #Imo and #Oyo) using #endcuttinggirls.

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