“Female Genital Mutilation Has Nothing To Do With Culture, Tradition Or Religion. It Is Torture And A Crime. Help Us To Put An End To This Crime.”- Waris Dirie (Model, UN Special Ambassador 1997 – 2003).

 

“There is no developmental, religious or health reason to cut or mutilate any girl or woman.” Ban Ki-moon, Former United Nations Secretary-General

Welcome to “#EndCuttingGirls Nigeria”.

Thank you for your interest in our campaign to end Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C). This campaign, “#EndCuttingGirls Nigeria” unites Youth Advocates and other stakeholders (Organizations, communities’, government, individuals, etc.) in an effort to end the practice of FGM/C in this generation.

WHY ARE WE HAVING THIS CAMPAIGN?

Every 11 seconds, a girl or a young woman is forced to undergo FGM/C.  Each year, about 3 million girls/women are at risk of FGM/C.

The origin of FGM/C is largely unknown, but the practice predates contemporary world religions and is rooted in tradition. FGM/C is practiced in 29 African countries, namely, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia). It is also practiced in the Middle East, Asia, South America and within the Diaspora populations in Australia, Canada, Europe, USA and UK.

In 2008, the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM/C: Accelerating Change was launched in 15 Countries. These are, namely, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

In 2014, The Phase II implementation period commenced with Nigeria and Yemen joining the 15 Countries on programme, which will end in 2017.

The Goal of the programme is to contribute to the overall goal as set by the Interagency Statement on Eliminating FGM/C and reaffirmed by the 2012 United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/67/1462 to support governments, communities, and the girls and women concerned towards the abandonment of FGM/C.

The Objective is to contribute to the acceleration of the total abandonment of FGM/C in the next generation (i.e. next 20 years) in line with United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/67/146 to “Intensify global efforts to eliminate female genital mutilations”

The specific Objective of the Programme in Nigeria is “To contribute to the reduction of the prevalence of FGM/C in Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo and Osun State” through:-

  1. The implementing a multi-media campaign promoting the rights and positive values for FGM/C abandonment at the community, selected LGAs and 4 selected States.
  2. Facilitating public dialogue and discussions on FGM/C abandonment at family, community and policy makers, media and legislators levels.
  3. Implementing and reporting of the activities promoting the rights and positive values and perceptions around protection of girls from FGM/C.
  4. Promoting the rights and positive perception of the girl–child who has not undergone FGM/C as ‘whole, healthy in body and mind, unharmed, intact, and untouched’.

The five strategies for implementing the Joint Programme are….

  1. Advocacy and Policy
  2. Capacity Development
  3. Service Delivery
  4. Establish new partnerships and support their efforts
  5. Knowledge Development

 

To complement the on-going effort to end the practice of FGM/C in Nigeria, UNICEF, in November 2015, began a Social Media Advocacy Campaign to end FGM/C by organising a 3-day training workshop, in Abuja, for 24 Young (Male: 12 & Female: 12) Youth Advocates from 7 States (Abuja, Imo, Ekiti, Oyo, Osun, Plateau, and Lagos).  This social media campaign is an activity under the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Accelerating Change. The campaign, “#EndCuttingGirls Nigeria” unites Youth Advocates and other stakeholders (Organizations, communities’, government, individuals, etc.)  In July 2016, UNICEF organised a 3-day refresher training workshop, in Edo State, 27 Young Advocates (Male: 18 & Female: 9) from 6 States (Abuja, Imo, Ekiti, Oyo, Osun, Ebonyi, and Lagos).  The participants were 13 old advocates, and 12 new ones. The addition of the new advocates has reinvigorated the group and brought in fresh ideas and perspecives.

 

FGM/C PREVALENCE IN NIGERIA THE SURVEY:

Map Source: 28 Too Many

According to the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS 2013), the FGM/C prevalence rate in Nigeria is 25%.  FGM/C is most prevalent among Yoruba women (55%) and Igbo women (45%). The States with highest prevalence, are Osun (77%), Ebonyi (74%), Ekiti (72%), Imo (68%) and Oyo (66%)

 

According to NDHS 2013, 86.6% of girls and 79.5% of women are cut by ‘traditional agents /traditional circumcisers’. In addition, 11.9% of girls and 12.7% of women are cut by Medical professionals (doctors, nurses/ midwives, other health professionals) – (i.e. Medicalization)

Mostly by done by Nurses/midwives; Girls (10.4%) &Women (9.9%)

The Main reason reasons for FGM/C were to preserve virginity and prevent extra-marital sex. In addition, women cited ‘social acceptance’ and ‘better marriage prospects’, while Men also cited ‘More sexual pleasure for a man’.  Although FGM is not required by any religious script, overall, 15% of women and 23.6% of men believe it is required by their religion. Overall, 64.3% of women and 62.1% of men believe that FGM should be stopped in Nigeria. Th strongest support for ending FGM (76.2%) among women who have not undergone FGM, while 50% support for ending FGM is among those who have undergone the practice.

 

NATIONAL RESPONSE TO FGM/C: UNFPA-UNICEF JOINT PROGRAMME ON FGM/C: ACCELERATING CHANGE:

Nigeria joined the global programme in December 2013, but the actual implementation commenced in 2014 in Imo, Ebonyi, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo and Lagos states with a joint Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Situation Assessment. These states were chosen on the basis of high prevalence for FGM/C based on the NDHS data 2003, 2008 and 2013 in Figure 1.

To commence the Joint Programme in Nigeria, UNFPA/UNICEF with Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and Federal ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development (FMWASD) undertook a study on FGM/C in 6 States (Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Osun, Oyo and Lagos). The goals of the situation assessment (baseline survey) were 1) to understand the nature, types of social norms and their effect on the social expectation and motivation of families and communities on FGM/C, and 2) to undertake an in-depth analysis of community social networks influencing patterns and collective behaviour around the practice of FGM/C.

The data from the assessment will inform the design of effective strategies and interventions to accelerate the abandonment of FGM/C. Below are the preliminary findings of the assessment.

The preliminary findings of the joint Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Situation Assessment in the six States in the following charts are consistent with the NDHS data. According to the data in Figure 2, Osun State reported the highest prevalence rate of 77 percent.

FGM/C prevalence in the six most affected States

The charts below reveal the prevalence of FGM/C in the six states by Local Government Areas.

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