TWEET CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT: Unleashing Youth Power: Enhancing the role of community-based youth organizations in the EndFGM campaign in Nigeria – 13.02.2020
Anchor: Ola Moses Decoda (@olamosesdecoda)
WHO defined Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in 1997 as all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
FGM was classified by WHO into 4 types based on process and extent of mutilation with sub divisions;
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 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 4 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.
Every year, 3 million girls and women are subjected to one form of FGM or another. It is also important to note that 200 million people have been impacted for the practice of FGM in the 30 countries where it is practiced and several studies have shown that the practice of FGM has no known benefit to the survivors, family or the society at large.
Having known that FGM has no know benefit, it is important that efforts are intensified to ensure that we protect the feminine gender from further harm both the born and unborn.
For more information about basic facts about FGM, visit www.endcuttinggirls.org Also do well to follow the handle “Endcuttinggirls Nigeria’’ on all social media platforms for constant updates about the EndFGM campaign. You can also visit who.int or watch
Community development happens when people take action to solve common problems affecting the places they live, work and play every day.
In the campaign to #EndFGM in Nigeria, the involvement of community-based youth organizations in the country cannot be over emphasized.
Apart from other Stakeholders like women, men, religious leaders, traditional leaders, etc., the Youths and Community Based Youth Organisations (CBYO) are another important stakeholder to partner with in the campaign to #EndFGM in Nigeria.
Community Based Youth Organisations (CBYO) are a significant segment of a community and works to meet community needs. Since they are so localized, CBYOs will understand the issues surrounding FGM in the community they operate in.
Being an inhabitant of the community, they have the information on who, where and when FGM is practiced in the community and involving them in the campaign helps them to know how and where to tackle the challenge from.
One of the roles and purpose of CBYO is the constant development of their community, they have a positive effect on the rural change through increase in income, improvement of health, health education of the people etc. The CBYO attracts the attention of the government to their community by constant pressure mounted on them.
CBYOs are not after the profit, but they are strictly focused on the primary reason for their gathering which is the development of their community, stopping harmful social norms, holding government responsible for every promise made developing human resources against future development needs of immediate communities.
Involvement of CBYOs in the campaign to end FGM can lead to ownership of the campaign.
In most FGM practicing communities, FGM is not discussed openly, and, thus, most people are unaware of the negative consequences of the practice on the health and wellbeing of their girls and women. In communities like this, partnership with CBYO will help in making FGM an open topic for discussion during community gathering and youth meetings so that they will see it as a primary responsibility to ensure that FGM is abandoned in their community.
CBYO can help gather information on who still practices FGM, why they are still practicing it and who the cutter, etc., which will enable those campaigning to end FGM to plan effectively.
Involving and partnering with CBYO means involving youth from different works of life in the community in the policing against FGM in the community. This is because CBYOs are made up of Youth serving in different capacities such as justice system, the public health department, health Institutions, mental health agencies, Social Services, and Boys & Girls Club etc. they will be a strong force in ending FGM because they are made up of diverse people who are strong willed.
While much of the attention is given to building local capacities, it has often been limited to adults, leaving out the youth that are visible and actively involved in community development efforts. Involving youth in such capacity building programmes will contributes to both the development of community and the social and psychological development of the youth involved.
To encourage youth involvement in the campaign to #EndFGM, it is vital to understand that youths love to be valued, taken seriously and given recognition by the community at large, not that they will be brought into a campaign and their voice will not be heard or they volume will be toned down.
When the CBYO are not being sure of the benefits of their contributions their involvement can be limited.
Lack of knowledge about the FGM and why it should be stopped can also limit their involvement of CBYAs. It is, thus, important that the CBYO are educated on FGM, reasons why it is practiced, why it should stop, their role in ending #FGM, and assured that their voice would be heard. Some activities that CBYO can carry out include arts, dance, drama and music interventions, creating campaign/educational materials, accountability interventions, Youth-led emergency response, Community educators, surveillance to monitor compliance to commitments made during the Public Declaration of Abandonment of FGM, etc.
As we all come together, in solidarity, to support the #EndFGM campaign, we must note that our CBYO, if empowered, can play great roles in stamping out this harmful practice from their family and communities.