Female Genital Mutilation comprises “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for nonmedical reasons.”
FGM also encompasses practices that involve injury or alteration to the external genitals including pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, and cauterization.
Ending FGM requires efforts at all levels.
The UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on Elimination of FGM is accelerating efforts to end FGM. In Nigeria, the UNJP is implemented by government agencies and civil society organisations, and supports policy formulation, service delivery and community-based activities in five states.
The five states are namely, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Osun, and Oyo State.
Good evening and welcome to another informative session on the weekly Twitter Conference of the UNICEF Trained Social Media Advocates campaigning to end FGM in Nigeria.
The Joint Programme supports change of social norms through interventions that target and empower communities to critically reflect on FGM as a violation of girls’ and women’s rights and explore the benefits of FGM abandonment.
Opinion leaders and role models, such as community and religious leaders, play a pivotal role in catalysing norm change by taking a public position in calling for the elimination of FGM.
Education sessions, community dialogue, value deliberations and organized diffusion of information about alternative social norms that keep girls and women complete, without FGM helps communities work towards reaching a ‘critical mass’ and agree to participate in a collective public declaration of FGM abandonment to amplify the change of norm.
To build on the achievements of the UNJP in Nigeria in ending FGM, end Violence Against Children (VAC), end Violence Against Women and Children (VAWG), increase the uptake of Birth registration services, and reduce the spread of COVID-19, UNICEF through NOA encouraged and built the capacity of the surveillance committees on integrated approach and messaging.
This training empowered the committee to continue to engage with and sensitize community members in about FGM to ensure that families are safe, and their members, especially children and women, are protected.
In Nigeria, National Orientation Agency (NOA) with support from UNICEF, had partnered with the Community Women’s Associations (CWA) to establish Community Based Child Protection Committee across States in the UNJP programme
This training involved training two representatives (President and Secretary) of the CWA as FGM Monitors.
The purpose of CBCPC is to coordinate the community-based child protection and response systems at the Community level.
While the CBCPC members were representatives of key stakeholders in the Community including Traditional Ruler’s Council, Women Leader, President-General, Youth Leader, Custodian of culture, Clergy, and any other relevant stakeholder such as community vigilante group.
To expand the scope of the community surveillance committee, there is need for a partnership with Health care providers at the community level.
A Training programs for these professionals, that should focus on what FGM is, why it is practiced, its health impacts, and ways to prevent it.
Such trainings must also sensitize health care practitioners to the fact that FGM is a violation of girls’ and women’s rights to health and conflicts with the “do no harm” principle of medical practice.
These professionals, as a focus of FGM abandonment programs, should be given the opportunity to reflect on their own beliefs and think critically about how these views may fuel the continuation of the practice.
After the training, the Health workers should form part of the FGM Community Surveillance Committee to sensitize Pregnant women during antenatal care services on the dangers of FGM.
The Health care workers to also reinforce the message of “Zero FGM” and remind them of the commitment they made during the FGM Public declaration of abonnement. to Nursing Mothers who access immunization services in their facilities.
During the Immunization services, the health care workers can check to see if a baby has been subjected to the practice of FGM Including Type 4 FGM.
While the health care workers focus on sensitizing pregnant women and nursing mothers t their facilities, the Community Surveillance Team will focus on household visit.
This partnership will ensure that both women who visits health facilities for delivery and those who prefer to deliver at home are reached with the message of “zero FGM” and serve as a reminder on the commitment made during the public declaration of FGM abandonment in their community.
The Health care providers are chosen because they are in the best position to monitor pregnant members and intervene to prevent FGM, VAC, VAWG, Promote Birth Registration, and reduce the risk of COVID-
The Health care workers will also help to talk to other health care providers to stop the medicalization of FGM, this will be done through their routine meetings.
The health care workers will report to the Traditional/Community Surveillance Committee on the number of FGM cases recorded on monthly basis, this data will also be validated with the data from the Surveillance Team who are also monitoring deliveries through household visits.
The Traditional Ruler will notify the implementing partners (NOA, MGVGA and MOH) through the Telephone Helplines, below, to ensure that the case is referred to the appropriate FGM- related services providers (Health, Social, Law Enforcement and Legal).
The Traditional Ruler will also inform the CBCPC to ensure that the families and cutter involved are sanctioned, and handed over to the Law Enforcement authorities.
The Traditional Ruler will present the report to the CBCPC (Traditional Ruler’s Council, Women Leader, President-General, Youth Leader, Custodian of Culture, Clergy, and any other relevant stakeholder such as community vigilante group.) for deliberation.
Within the week after the end of month, the Traditional Ruler will submit the information generated by the health workers and the feedback from the CBCPC to the Community Mobilization Officer (COMO) of NOA.
To ensure sustainability and for cost-effectiveness, the Traditional Ruler can send the report to the COMO through any of community member working at the LGA headquarters.
The COMO will transmit this information to the state office of NOA, upon receipt, for onward transmission to UNICEF. The process of transmitting the report will be as follows: Health Care Providers → Traditional Ruler/CBCPC → LGA COMO → NOA State Office → UNICEF.
At this point, I will stop the conversation so we can reflect on the key points discussed as I entertain any questions. #COVID19
Thanks for being part of the conversations today. Join us every other Thursday 5-7pm. Visit our www.endcuttinggirls.org for more info and updates on FGM, and kindly follow the handle “@Endcuttinggirls” on all social media platforms. #COVID19
Together we will end FGM in this Generation. #COVID19