Across the world, over 200 million girls and women have undergone at least one of the four forms of female genital mutilation.

Of this 200 million, 10% are Nigerians and they are people we have at one time or the other come across in our daily endeavour.

This whole number is an enormous number considering the population distribution of Nigeria.

Today, We shall be look at the topic “Partnering with Muslim Women Groups to sustain the campaign To End FGM in Nigeria “.  I am @AATSarumi your host.

The practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is an age long one and it is shrouded in cultural beliefs and religious misconceptions.

People who practice Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) erroneously refer to it as circumcision in a bid to cover up the damage done to girls and women through the act. Hence, it is important to devise a multi-prong approach in solving the practice which is now a social norm.

In 1997, World Health Organisation (WHO) defined Female Genital Mutilation as the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or any form of injury to the female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

Upon definition, it was categorised into 4 types. This categorisation was based on technique, tools and extent of flesh removed. All these also contribute to the possible degree of harm done.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classification of FGM and their subdivisions are mentioned in the succeeding tweets (11b-f).  

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  @WHO

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 ofFGM 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 IIc: 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 a positioning the labia minora with or without excision of the clitoris; and FGM Type IIIb: removal and a positioning the labia majora with or without excision of the clitoris

Type IV Unclassified; refers to all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, including cauterization, pulling, incision, piercing, pricking, and scrapping for non-medical reasons.

Type IV also includes the practice of “massaging” or applying petroleum jelly, herbal concoctions or hot water to the clitoris and pushing it back into the body or desensitise it, which is common in many parts of Nigeria, especially Imo State.

FGM has short terms and long term effects on the health and well-being of women. For more information on FGM please visit our website: www.endcuttinggirls.org

The risks girls and women might likely encounter through FGM could be immediate and short term or long term and permanent.

As mentioned earlier, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is carried out under religious misconception laced with the desire to control the sexuality of girls and women.

Knowing the powerful effect religion, religious bodies and religious leaders have over their teeming congregation which forms the core of Nigeria’s population is positive news in the campaign to .

These groups are veritable vehicles for the propagation of the message of eliminating #FGM by 2030, in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 5.3).

If these groups are not engaged across body, we risk putting more girls at the risk of being cut without any medical reason.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has said that “unless action to end FGM is accelerated, another 68 million girls will have been cut by 2030. 68 million (girls/women) is another huge number that we can’t afford to leave in harm’s way

It has also been established that FGM is not supported by any of the two most popular religions around the world (Christianity and Islam). Yet, some drivers of FGM have found a way to make it a religious rite.  (

In the two previous tweet conferences, held on 7th and 14 February 2019, we had discussed how to enhance the capacity of Religious Leaders (and Christian Religious Groups

Today, 21st February 2019, the series on Religion and FGM continues as we look how Muslim Women Groups can help to

This is because with as many similarities between these groups in different religions, their uniqueness must be carefully employed to ensure that the message is rightly delivered

For the partnership with the Muslim women groups to deliver the desired results, it will have to come through capacity building (education), mentorship (support group) and monitoring within their clusters.

Muslim women groups, commonly referred to ‘Asalatu’ groups are known for their closely knitted activities that make them a “family” based on group prayers for causes common to them.

These units and their various congregational outings are great platforms to reach Muslim women and teach them about the dangers of FGM. It must be noted also that most of these groups function as pressure groups to help bring to the fore issues affecting women in finance, health, career (work) and other areas of their lives. This will help them to learn how to protect their daughters from the possible harms associated with FGM and speak in support of the campaign to .

In Nigeria today, Federation of Muslim Women’s Association (FOMWAN) is the largest civil society body for Muslim women associations and this provides a large audience in the target group. .

Another of such group is the Ahmadiyya’s Lajna Ima’illah; an auxiliary organisation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Lajna Ima’Illah consists of women responsible for finances, education, health and fitness, social service activities, publications, etc. of the organization and the women wing of Ahmadiyya. So is FOMWAN

The declared focuses of these groups make them great partners for the campaign for the elimination of #FGM.

Their nationwide reach is also another reason to build their capacity through educational outreach that is aligned with their religious beliefs on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and the importance of eliminating it. Their various activities at state and national levels can be used for focused group (intergenerational discussion) dialogues on FGM as part of educational partnership to

This will help them critically engage the issues without fear or favour in an environment they are used to. Hence, the better understanding of the dangers associated with FGM.

Building on this educational approach, the women can now form units that will cater to FGM survivors, girls and women at risk, and engaging the men in their immediate circles. For instance, the Lajna Ima’Illah is a group for women in Ahmaddiyya from age 15. This is a great age group to talk to future mothers, wives, and grand-mothers. And in this group belong women who have great experience across different career path that can help provide the needed support for women who are at of FGM, or have been subjected to the procedure.

In the last part of how this partnership will work is monitoring (perhaps, enforcement) of this new knowledge that will help us protect girls and women better in our society. The groups through their Presidents/Ameerah’s at different levels can coordinate monitoring groups and train them to function like community champions in their communities.

However, it will be narrowed down to members of their immediate constituency (Muslim women). In other cases, it could be broad. In Ekiti State, the current Ameerah of FOMWAN who is a retired nurse had participated in various community engagements organised by NOA Ekiti with UNICEF Nigeria’s support in #endcuttinggirls

This goes on to show that these women will not only deliver this message to Muslim women, they would do so extensively within their circle of influence to reach more people.

Through this partnership, it is assured that the message will spread faster and elimination of #FGM would be accelerated. This brings us to the end of today twitter conference. Thanks for Joining u! Kindly ask questions or share your suggestions with us.

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