by Ademola Adebisi @Adexconsult

Thursday 4th June 2020

Based on previous experience in responding to humanitarian crises including outbreaks, the COVID-19 pandemic will compound existing gender inequalities and increase the risk of different forms of gender-based violence (GBV).

The protection and promotion of the rights of girls and women should be prioritized during this pandemic. 

Where movement is restricted and people are confined, priority should be given to ensuring access to prevention, protection and care services, including psychosocial support, and adapting community-based surveillance systems for girls and women at risk of and affected by female genital mutilation, especially in hard-to-reach areas.

Female genital mutilation risk mitigation and response should be integrated in GBV and child protection COVID-19 preparedness and response plans.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the elimination of female genital mutilation by 2030, will be disrupted, and an estimated 2 million additional cases of female genital mutilation will need to be averted.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. 

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads.

Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol-based rub frequently and not touching your face.

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments).

World Health Organization will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings become available?

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.

Most common symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever, dry cough, tiredness).

Less common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • aches and pains.
  • sore throat.
  • diarrhoea.
  • conjunctivitis.
  • headache.
  • loss of taste or smell.
  • a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes.  @WHO

Serious symptoms of COVID-19 include: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure and loss of speech or movement

Seek immediate medical attention if you have serious symptoms.  Always call before visiting your doctor or health facility also People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should manage their symptoms at home.

On average it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show, however it can take up to 14 days. 

The health impacts of violence, particularly intimate partner/domestic violence or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on women and their children, are significant.

In these times of lockdown and constant need for up-to-date information, the Radio remains the most essential means of ensuring that community members learn about #COVID-19 and FGM.

The radio plays an essential role in communication today by remaining available when other communication mediums, such as television and Internet, are rendered inaccessible by weather or other interference.

A battery-powered radio is considered by many experts to be the most essential communications device an individual can possess.

The Radio is a universal and versatile medium of communication that can be used for the benefit of society during this pandemic.

Radio has been used, worldwide, to encourage positive individual behaviour change and constructive social change

a. Radio can bring exciting, entertaining dramas into the homes and lives of millions of listeners, jingles and dramas that engage listeners’ emotions while informing them of new ideas and behaviours that can improve their lives and communities

Drama and Jingles for social change is special, because it aims to entertain and motivate positive behaviour change in the audience

One of the most effective uses of radio for social change is “Enter-Educate or entertainment-education” serial drama and Jingles.

“Enter-Educate” is communicating in a manner that delivers a pro-social educational message in an entertainment format through Radio

Radio drama can be presented in three different styles: 1) as an independent drama, 2) as a series, or 3) as a serial.

The Radio and other Mass Media agents must break the silence

The media has the potential to provide accurate and factual information about FGM, which will help to address the myth and misconception surrounding the practice

Media, especially Radio, is one of greatest means of communication. The Media is key in changing the mind-set of people about negative social behaviour, and promoting an acceptable behaviour amongst its listener’s

Radio is a great platform to educate community members on the practice of FGM and its effects, which is also a step in empowering survivors.

Communication is a tool needed by survivors in advocacy and this includes story telling skills through radio and all other mass media platform. Sharing of stories have proved important in this campaign.

Awareness creation: Radio and other mass media platform can be used to create awareness on the dangers of FGM and COVID-19 prevention and risk mitigation.

The media as a tool/means of communication can lend their voice by anchoring programs that promotes and supports abandonment of FGM

The media especially Radio can do more to support this movement of FGM abandonment by encouraging survivors to come share their experiences with the world, including the after effect and how they dealt with the trauma

Radio can bring exciting, entertaining dramas into the homes and lives of millions of listeners, dramas that engage listeners’ emotions while informing them of new ideas and behaviours that can improve their lives and communities

Due the importance of the Radio in mass communication, UNICEF, under the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Elimination of FGM (Phase II and III) has been partnering with Radio Stations to amplify the campaign to end FGM in Nigeria.

In 2017, UNICEF partnered with 10 Radio Stations in the five joint programme focus states in Nigeria to develop a 13-episode Radio Drama Serial called “Pim Pim Pim”.

The 10 partner Radio Stations in the five states were in Imo State (Heartland FM 100.5 and Orient FM 94.4): Ebonyi State (Unity FM 101.5 and Salt FM 98.1): Oyo State (Splash FM105.5 and Amuludun FM 99.1): Osun State (Livingspring FM 104.5 and Orisun FM 89.5), and Ekiti State (Ekiti Radio FM 91.5 and Progress FM 100.5):

“Pim Pim Pim” is a 15-minute drama serial that aims to enter-educate families and stimulate dialogue around FGM. It is an exciting captivating drama that captures the realities in communities where FGM is practiced. It is culturally-sensitive  

“Pim Pim Pim” provides more information about FGM & encourages discussion and self-reflection. It unfolds over time, allowing the audience to get involved with the story, actions and consequences.  

“Pim Pim Pim” ran in the 10 UNICEF-partner Stations from January to March 2017, and most stations re-aired the drama before the end of 2017.  Due to the partnership with UNICEF, “Pim Pim Pim” was aired free-of-charge by the 10 Radio Stations. 

Since 2017, the 10 UNICEF-partner Radio partners have kept FGM on the front burner in these states using their existing platforms (live phone-in discussions, jingles, drama, news commentaries, etc.), while two of the stations with TV Channels now show FGM programmes. 

The 10 UNICEF-partner Radio stations air joint programme activities interventions and are very actively involved in the commemoration the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM (February 6th) using their own resources and platforms. 

On 6th February 2020, the 10 UNICEF-partner Radio Stations used their platforms to commemorate the Day of Zero Tolerance, while nine other Radio and TV Stations in Oyo State aired the EndFGM jingles free-of-charge (See a link to the report:

In 2019, UNICEF partnered with the Radio stations to produce Radio Jingles that address the consequences of FGM, medicalization, legislation, and promiscuity.  These Jingles are in English, Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin English languages and are being aired pro bono by the Stations (at least 3 times daily per station) as their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).  (See a Link to the jingles:

In 2019, UNICEF is partnered with 12 Radio Stations, in Ekiti, Osun and Oyo States, including community Radios stations to intensify their broadcast of EndFGM campaign jingles and prevention of COVID-19 messages, while leveraging on their existing programs to also amplify these messages.

The partnership with the 10 Radio Stations is playing a critical role in amplifying the campaign to end FGM, in Nigeria, due to their wider coverage and effect.  They have been a major catalyst in diffusing information and creating a ripple effect that helps other communities beyond the coverage of the programme to denounce the norm of FGM even more rapidly.

It has been an interesting journey partnering with the Radio Stations to amplify the campaign to end FGM in Nigeria, and UNICEF in Nigeria would love to share the lessons learned with others who wish to start a similar campaign.

For the sake of those joining the #endcuttinggirls weekly twitter conference for the first time, I will provide a brief overview of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to refresh your memory.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) includes all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. @WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies FGM into four types, and all four types are all practiced in Nigeria. # @WHO @endcuttinggirls

Type I: partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (Clitoridectomy). Subgroups of Type I FGM are: type Ia, removal of the clitoral hood or prepuce only; type Ib, removal of the clitoris with the prepuce.

Type II: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (excision).

Subgroups of Type II FGM are: 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 & labia majora.

Type III: 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).

Subgroups of Type III FGM are: type IIIa, removal and apposition of the labia minora; type IIIb, removal and apposition of the labia majora.

Reinfibulation is covered under this definition. This is a procedure to recreate an infibulation, for example after childbirth when defibulation is necessary.

Type IV: unclassified – all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for nonmedical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.

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

FGM has no known health benefit, and is harmful to girls and women. It involves altering, removing and/or damaging otherwise healthy female genital tissue.

It is estimated that over 200 million girls and women worldwide are living with the effects of FGM, and every year some 3 million girls and women are at risk of FGM and are therefore exposed to its potential negative health consequences (UNICEF 2016).

In Nigeria, the Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS 2018) revealed that 20% of women aged 15-49 years had undergone FGM, a decrease from 25% (NDHS 2013). 

For more information about FGM you can visit or watch

At this point, I will stop the conversation so we can reflect on the key points discussed as I entertain any questions.

Thanks for being part of the conversations today. Join us every other Thursday 5-7pm. Visit our for more info and updates on FGM, and kindly follow the handle “@Endcuttinggirls” on all social media platforms.

Together we will end FGM in this Generation.