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TWEET CONFERENCE SCRIPT: Expanding the role of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in monitoring and reporting on FGM interventions – 21st June 2018

Good evening all. Welcome to the weekly Twitter conference of the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation: Accelerating Change (Phase III).

I am Benjamin Mbakwem @cydi2k, your Anchor, and my co-anchor, is Ademola Adebisi @VARCENigeria.

This Twitter Conference will last from 5pm-7pm Nigerian time. We will attend to your questions and contributions from 6:30pm.

Today, our focus is on “Expanding the role of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in monitoring and reporting on FGM interventions

We will be discussing the various ways civil society organisations (CSOs) can monitor and report FGM interventions to help accelerate FGM elimination.

I will take the first part of this discussion, while my colleague will be on hand to take the final part, before we answer your questions.

Before we move into our major discussion for today, let’s quickly review some basic information about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

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

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.

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.

The procedure of FGM is painful and traumatic, and is often performed under unsterile conditions by a traditional practitioner who has little knowledge of female anatomy or how to manage possible adverse events.

Moreover, the removal of or damage to healthy genital tissue interferes with the natural functioning of the body and may cause severe immediate and long-term negative health consequences.

The practice of FGM is prevalent in 30 countries in Africa and in a few countries in Asia and the Middle East, but also present across the globe due to international migration

FGM practice is deeply rooted in a strong cultural and social framework. It is endorsed by the practicing community and is supported by loving parents who believe that undergoing FGM is in the best interest of their daughter.

The beliefs sustaining the practice of FGM vary greatly from one community to another, although there are many common themes. However, the primary reason is that it is part of the history and cultural tradition of the community. and

Despite its cultural importance, we need to acknowledge the fact that FGM is a harmful traditional practice that violates the rights or girls and women.  Therefore, FGM has to be eliminated.

For more information about FGM you can visit http://www.who.int or watch

At this point, I will give room for my co-anchor @VARCENigeria to complete the rest of the presentation.

Thank @cydi2k for the informative Tweets; I will now take over from here.

Now let us discuss how we can expand the role of Civil Society Organizations, which is a major strategy to ending the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Civil society refers to “the space for collective action around shared interests, purposes and values, generally distinct from government and commercial for-profit actors”.

Civil society includes charities, development NGOs, community groups, women’s organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, trade unions, social movements, coalitions and advocacy groups.

When civil society becomes formalized, it is referred to as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). These include non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs), and faith-based organisations (FBOs).

Civil society organisations (CSOs) play an important and relevant role in providing services at the Local, National and International Level. They work in a variety of different fields, such as Human Right, Education, Health, Gender issues, etc.

CSOs are formal voluntary social group that are found in communities which differ in size objective and degree of interaction among members. CSOs have constituencies, as they have beneficiaries whom they serve and ideally should represent.

CSO have the ability to influence ideas and actions of others with the purpose to plan, implement and monitor social and economic development programmes and provide technical and financial helps to the communities.

CSOs can positively affect the process of rural change through their developmental programmes that can lead to an increase in income, improvement health, and etc.

Apart from implementing their own programmes, Civil society organizations (CSOs) also help to shape government policies, and monitor government programmes, and hold governments accountable for their duty to meet the needs of their citizens.

Given the role of the CSOs in providing services and holding government accountable, they can be deployed to monitor and report on the on-going FGM interventions in the communities.

In order to play the role of a “monitor” it is important for funders to equip CSOs with relevant skills and competencies for effective monitoring and reporting

CSOs can also act as linkage to support and care for FGM survivors in the local communities of interventions.

CSOs will need to increase their knowledge about FGM, as well the on-going interventions that they intend to monitor.

 

the CSOs should also be introduced to all the agencies implementing the FGM interventions and their project locations to enable the CSOs to monitor these activities. This will help CSOs to develop a monitoring plan and deploy their members to cover most areas of the community where these interventions will be taking place.

The CSOs should also be linked to all the institutions providing FGM-related services (health, legal, social, etc.) so that they can also monitoring the quality of services being provided by them in that locality.  Linking CSOs to service providers will also help them access documents/ case reports pertaining FGM in the given community.  With this link in place, CSOs are also notified each time any of these service providers encounter a new case to enable them follow up and assess the effectiveness of the referral system.

As the CSOs monitor these interventions and service providers, they can also alert government if they observe new cases of FGM in a particular area.

Monitoring of these interventions will also help to identify the key areas of strength or weakness, which will help government to improve the interventions.

Of all the CSOs, the Community Based Organizations (women’s groups, age grades, etc.) and Faith Based Organisation (Christian, Muslim, etc.) are best suited to monitor these interventions due to their spread and presence in the communities.

In addition to the CBOs and FBOs, networks of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) can also play this role effectively, once their members are present within the communities where these interventions are taking place.  In order to reach the wider community, the NGOs should collaborate with other CSOs (FBOs and CBOs) because they have established structures that can easily be deployed for effective monitoring and reporting.

 

However, before engaging any CSO it is important to build their capacity and provide them with adequate information on FGM and the intervention. This will help to prepare them to do an effective job.  CSOs capacity must be enhanced in facilitating sessions in local languages, especially in rural areas where interventions are being executed. They must be able to adequately translate FGM related terms to fit into these languages and their understanding.  It is also important to build the Capacity of the CSOs on Report Writing.  This will enable them to produce professional reports that can be presented to government on the outcome of their assignment.  It is also important to train the CSOs on how to present their findings to government and advocate for changes to policy and programmes that will help in eliminating FGM.

 

CSOs have the potential to monitor FGM intervention, on behalf of the people.  They can engage with government to ensure that only policies and programs that will lead to FGM elimination are implemented in Nigeria.

CSOs must also be trained on proper monitoring and evaluation techniques to ensure that every intervention project executed is done in accordance with outlined objectives and that they are meet the ‘do no harm’ requirements.

Reports of intervention projects executed by CSOs must also be detailed and easily understood by agencies that use such reports for policy formulation and implementation. CSOs must therefore be well-grounded in formulating simple yet detailed reporting formats.

CSO can make use of already laid down templates such that interventions by agencies can be easily annexed to all and sundries with the aim of realizing the stated objectives.

CSO can have periodic meetings and discussions with existing Community Based Organization Organization (CBO’s), Faith Based Organizations (FBO’s) working on FGM.

 

 

To learn more about the @endcuttinggirls Campaign, please visit endcuttinggirls.org for information.  You may also follow our social media handles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, using @endcuttinggirls

 

At this point, I will end the presentation to give room for questions and contributions from participants. Thank you all for reading our tweets

 

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