Welcome to the second Twitter Conference in 2018 of the UNICEF-UNFPA Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) Abandonment: Accelerating Change

The main aim of this conference is to raise awareness about FGM/C , Efforts of partners working in various communities to put an end to the practice and others ways to take the campaign forward. To learn more kindly visit http://endcuttinggirls.org/about-us/

In today’s discussion, We have online Three passionate FGM/C advocates that will be give us more insight on the topic “Engaging boys and men to take a stand against FGM/C in their homes and communities”

The conference will last from 5pm-7pm Nigerian time and at the end of the presentation, we will give participants the opportunity to ask questions using the hashtag: #EndCuttingGirls

All questions should be directed to any of the anchors using their twitter handles @Oladeleesan, @_chzy and @felxfames.

At this point, let us make welcome @Oladeleesan, @_chzy and @felxfames for their presentation.

Thanks @endcuttinggirls. Incase you are joining us for the first time the term FGM/C means Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.

FGM/C refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural or other non-medical reasons . The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies FGM/C into 4 types;

Type 1. Clitoridectomy

Type 2. Excision

Type 3. Infibulations

Type 4. Unclassified

Please visit  http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/overview/en/  to read more about the various types.

FGM/C is mostly supported by both men and women, usually without question and anyone that does not follow the norm may face condemnation, harassment and ostracism.  @endcuttinggirls

Although women tend to be the primary decision makers regarding FGM-C of their daughters, men also play a significant role in its continuation and supporting the prevailing norms around the practice, as fathers, husbands, and community leaders.

The successful involvement of Men and Boys as part of a community-wide approach to shifting deep-rooted norms is critical for the abandonment of FGM/C.  in Various communities across African Countries, Men are the key decision makers in their homes and Community. Engaging them to take a stand against the practice of FGM/C is very important.

Most times the Men and Boys are not aware of the dangers of the practice of FGM/C to the health of their wives, sisters and female friends. Men have conflicting views on FGM/C. Many would like it to end but are unable to voice their support for its abandonment due to social pressure and obligation within the community.

This short drama shows how a newly married young man wasn’t unable to attribute some of the issues his wife was passing through to FGM/C because he is not aware of the practice. See video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6-FhWNEkMo&t=106s

Change needs to come from within communities, supported by the creation of opportunities for men and women to debate the practice amongst them.

Advocacy by men, as well as research, prevention programs and health services targeted at men could be explored to assess their success within the abandonment process.

In some communities, fathers surveyed have indicated that they are less encouraging of the practice than mothers of daughters, with evidence indicating that men’s lack of support can influence their daughters not undergoing the procedure (Shell-Duncan 2010)

A study of fathers in Egypt showed that they believed uncut women to be promiscuous [31]. FGM/C was deemed important for good marriage opportunities and to ensure fidelity in marriage [31]. In this respect, FGM/C helped men maintain polygamy in some communities. Men described their own complications, including male sexual dissatisfaction, compassion for female suffering and perceived challenges to their masculinity.

Intervention studies involving men had an important positive effect on men’s attitudes towards abandonment of FGM/C. Interviews with men in Northern Sudan revealed that men did not accurately understand FGM, as it was not until they were newly married that they experienced the irrevocable consequences of their wives.

Men felt they, too, were victims of the consequences of FGM. Almost all men stated they did not want their daughters to undergo FGM and believed it would become less common as men had started to prefer women who had not been cut.

A study assessed the process of change among men and boys targeted by Kembatti Mentti Gezzimma (KMG) Ethiopia’s intervention in the Kembatta zone of Ethiopia, which has challenged social acceptance of, and reduced the prevalence of, FGM/C at phenomenal rates (UNICEF 2008). Evidence suggests that fathers are more likely to advocate for their daughters to not be cut when they are informed about the harmful health effects of FGM/C (Feldman-Jacobs 2013).

Men in positions of power within religious, traditional and policymaking institutions, from local to national levels, have a powerful role in enabling shifts in the social and political structures that uphold the practice of FGM/C.

In Izzi Clan of Ebonyi State Nigeria, When the Ishiukes (The Custodian of Culture) discovered the consequences of FGM/C on their daughters and wives, they decide to come together and publicly declare abandonment of the practice. See videos https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2bH-jsY2oExqQcFCO6ImNJV0dCtudFBE

This short drama demonstrates how Men should take a stand in their Homes against the practice of FGM/C. See Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a5zXwlnn_4&t=358s

Thank you all for the time spent reading our tweets. Together we will end Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in this generation.

Let me welcome my co-anchor @_Chyz to share her views and ideas on this topic.

Thanks  @felxfames for the introduction.

I will be continuing from where @felxfames has ended the conversation on “Engaging Boys and Men to take a Stand Against FGM/C in Their Homes and Communities” to #EndCuttingGirls. Like … tweeted earlier, most cultures where FGMC is still in practice also have men as the head of the households and community. There would only be positive results if the major decision makers and influencers are included in the conversations at the community levels.

Varol et. al., 2015 said “Many men wished to abandon this practice because of the physical and psychosexual complications to both women and men”

“Social obligation and the silent culture between the sexes were posited as major obstacles for change.”

“Support for abandonment was influenced by notions of social obligation, religion, education, ethnicity, urban living, migration, and understanding of the negative sequelae of FGM.”

“The strongest influence was education.” Let us also involve the men and boys in the conversations to

In Varol et. al., 2015, the conclusion noted that “The level of education of men was one of the most important indicators for men’s support for abandonment of FGM Social obligation and the lack of dialogue between men and women were two key issues that men acknowledged as barriers to abandonment.”

Such key issues can only curtailed by advocacy by men and continuous partnerships between men and women groups to lead cultural change efforts to #EndCuttingGirls

Let’s have men and boys join the fight to protect their sisters, daughters, cousins and friends from mutilation.

My colleague @Oladeleesan will take up will take up the rest of the tweets at this point.

Thank you @felxfames  and @_Chyz  for the session so far.

I will love to share a very recent example from Ilorin, capital of Kwara state, where a politician; Alhaji Adebayo raised some brows on social media through his acts

It was first reported by BellaNaija’s Blog and the Endcuttinggirls team as well as other agencies got into it to visit

To learn more about the events that ensued and the rest of the story, kindly visit Endcuttinggirls.org

It is learnt from this experience that a lot of men don’t actually feel or think it as a wrong norm to subject Girls or Women to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

Rather many think of it as just a norm that has been and can continue, until it is pointed out as being negative.

A case study; Kembatti Mentti Gezzimma’s intervention to Eliminate FGM/C in Ethiopia, enumerates some of the concerns about men and boys involvement in FGM/c

As well as how they (men and boys) can also help impact and/or push for the abandonment of FGM/C. In the report by Erin Stern & Althea Anderson,  it was noted that some of the reasons why FGM/C is being practiced has to do with men’s favour: Not promoting promiscuity in women before and after marriage, also to enhance pleasure for men during intercourse

Also more reasons for men to be involved in abandonment of FGM/C is that they were more likely to have access to, and/or be influential community members

And that they can play very important roles in challenging resistance from other men and leaders of the community.

Also for young boys and youth men, once properly convince of the negative effects, they go into the nearest future to change the norms while becoming husbands, fathers and leaders of the society.

For the full text of the report, visit https://opendocs.ids.ac.uk or visit Endcuttinggirls.org to learn more

As rightly put by the learned, ‘One hand can’t clap by itself’. So also for FGM/C to be abandoned in this generation of ours, definitely, all hands must be raised by men, boys, women and girls alike to @EndCuttinggirls

In conclusion, FGM/C is not an issue only the women but both parties and men and woman need to ensure that this practice is abandoned in their families.

At this point myself, @felxfames  and @_Chyz will like to entertain your questions and contributions.