Good evening everyone and thank you for joining us today in our monthly Facebook Conference in the campaign to abandon Female Genital mutilation.

Today, we will be address another interesting and vital topic in the UNICEF Endcuttinggirls Campaign to end FGM. We will be looking at “WHAT ARE THE ROLES AND DUTIES OF FATHERS IN THE CAMPAIGN TO END FGM?”

But before we take off, we will like you to invite your friends or anybody you deem fit to be part of this conference. You can do this by mentioning their names in the comment section of this post to enable them get notified and join the conversation.

According to WHO, the term “Female Genital Mutilation” refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Basically, FGM is carried our by different people for so many different reasons. However, various researches have proven that none of the reasons to be unjustifiable. While most people carry out the practice on baby girls few days after birth, others do it during puberty while others even do it before marriage. We have had of communities where women who were not cut during their lifetime must be cut even before they are buried.

There are basically 4 types of FGM. The first is the Type I also known as  clitoridectomy. It is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce. Other subgroups of Type I FGM are: type Ia, removal of the clitoral hood or prepuce only; type Ib which is the removal of the clitoris with the prepuce.

The next is the Type II which is known as Excision. It is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora. Subgroups of Type II FGM may include: Type IIa, removal of the labia minora only; Type IIb, partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora; Type IIc, partial or total removal of the clitoris, labia minora and labia majora.

The Type III is the narrowing of the vaginal orifice with 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 last type is the Type IV also known as UNCLASSIFIED  refers to all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for nonmedical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.

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.

FGM practice is strongly rooted in the peoples culture and so, it has not been an easy task in getting people to abandon the practice despite the harmful effects on girls and women.

FGM is usually carried out by elder people in the rural communities, usually, but it is not exclusive to women as there are men who also conduct the practice. Amongst them are men who are performing the practice for the sole purpose of making money despite the vast health consequences. Most of this men are FATHERS in the society.

The fathers are majorly the decision makers of the family. So they are very key to the elimination of this practice especially if they have a deep understanding of the negative effects of continuing with the practice.

Although, it will be difficult for families to abandon the practice of FGM with the support of the wider community, it will be more challenging and difficult to achieve this goal without the support of the fathers, who are the bread winners and chief decision makers of the home.

ROLES OF FATHERS IN THE CAMPAIGN

The first thing is that fathers must first agree that the FGM is grat disservice to the dignity of womanhood. Hence, they must own up to lead the campaign against FGM at all levels.

Fathers need to start engaging themselves on all round issues concern girls and women especially the issue of FGM. This will create a platform for them to understand and appreciate their individual issues and collectively identify solutions too.

Fathers need to start engaging in small group and/or focus group discussions which help them better understand the issue around the campaign as well as the negatives effects of the practice on the family and overall wellbeing of the society.

Fathers should lead community dialogues where community members are brought together to openly discuss and reflect on issues relevant to FGM. It has been observed that community dialogues incite and stimulate private discussions within individuals and member of the family.

Fathers are expected to lead the process of not cutting their girls. But for that to happen, it is essential that the community members are aware of and trust the capacity of the fathers to abandon the practice.

Social expectation will gradually start changing if people have a guarantee of the commitment of our fathers to abandon and also lead the process of abandoning the practice of female genital mutilation.

Fathers should also help to organize and educate other fathers on the need to stop this harmful practice.

Fathers who are the leaders of religious and other social organization should start creating opportunity to sensitize people about the harmful effects of FGM and how it overall social, physical, mental and psychological effect on girls and women in overall development

At this point, I will step aside to entertain your questions or comments or contributions. Thank you so much for participating at this conference and we hope you had a great time learning our platform.

For more information, please visit www.endcuttinggirls.org