Host: Cynthia Omo Ade-Martins

Good evening and welcome to the Facebook conference of the Endcuttinggirls social media campaign; a UNICEF supported activity under the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM: Accelerating Change (Phase III) in Nigeria.

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

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified FGM into four types, and they are:

Type I: partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (Clitoridectomy)

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

Type III: narrowing of the vaginal orifice with the creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia minora, with or without excision of the clitoris (infibulation). Reinfibulation is covered under this definition as it is a procedure to recreate an infibulation, for example after childbirth when defibulation is necessary.

Type IV: unclassified: this covers all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes. For example, massaging, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.

FGM has both short and long term effects on the health and well-being of women and girls. These effects range from severe pain, excessive bleeding, shock, genital tissue, swelling and infections to long terms ones like chronic genital infections, urinary tract infections, painful urination, keloids, perinatal risks, etc.

FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. The practice violates women and girls’ rights to health, security and physical integrity, rights to be free from torture, cruel and in human treatment, and most importantly, rights to life.  

For more information on FGM, please visit our website www.encuttinggirls.org or visit our YouTube channel @Endcuttinggirls Nigeria. You can also look through our other social media handles using the handle @Endcuttinggirls Nigeria.

 Now, let’s take a look at COVID-19. According to the WHO, Coronavirus is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. The COVID-19 spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it is important that everyone practices respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).  

Below are a few tips to help prevent the infection and transmission of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol based sanitizer.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between you and people at all times
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay at home and away from close contact with people if you feel unwell
  • Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs

Mass media have long been recognized as powerful forces in causing a change in society. Technological tools like radio, television, the internet, etc. have been proven to have major impact on human behaviour.

The media can come in handy with the sensitization of people in both urban and rural areas.

The Endcuttinggirls team has used the media as one of its major means of sensitization on the ills and dangers of FGM and it has seen results.  

One of such is the case of a man who after listening to trained social media advocates on Amuludun FM 99.1 Moniya, Ibadan, Oyo state called in on the shows to express his thanks for such enlightening program and promised to stop the cutting of girls in his family.  

Since the advent of COVID-19, lots of media houses (Television, radio and newspapers) have developed jingles and adverts to create awareness on the Coronavirus. Some of these jingles were done in the native languages of people in Nigeria.

Another important form of media is social media. Social media is one of the best ways to share news nowadays especially if you are trying to alert people of something serious in a very quick manner. Social media gets the news where it needs to go.  

One of the best things that have happened across social media platforms is the number of professional athletes, celebrities, and influencers that have spoken up urging people to take everything they see about COVID-19 seriously and follow laid down guidelines. People are more inclined to listen when a public figure shares a message through social media.

With the new social distancing rule that encourages people to stay at home, there has been a spike in the consumption of media content. This means more reach for the End FGM and ChmOVID-19 campaigns.  

Web based video conferencing tools (Zoom, Skybe, Goto Meeting etc) can be effective for programme coordination during this COVID-19 Pandemic. 

In the best interest of girls and women, this transition is important and through this there will be no fear of leaving and girl or woman behind due to restrictions caused by #COVID19.

With everyone working to solve a social norm problem through proper web-based video conferencing, the spread of #COVID19 is also mitigated in the same breath #endcuttinggirls

The TV is just another big opportunity for the campaign to eliminate FGM through the use of drama, skits, musical, jingles and documentaries targeted at sensitizing and educating people on the need to eliminate FGM.

Why the campaign to eliminate FGM should leverage on TV during COVID-19 lockdown.

TV HAS STRONG IMPACT ON VIEWERS: No other medium has the longevity and power to influence than television. More people learn about a new product because of television advertising than any other means. The combination of audio and visual elements offers the amazing capability to reach multiple senses simultaneously.

PEOPLE SPEND MORE TIME WITH TV: Viewers still use the TV screen for the bulk of their viewing and spend more time doing so than all the other platforms combined. Insights gleaned from Nielsen’s fourth-quarter 2016 Comparable Metrics Report found that over 92% of all viewing among U.S. adults happens via the TV screen.

PEOPLE CAN WATCH TV ANYWHERE: Access helps. So does the fact that video is the most preferred content format, especially with millennials. The increasing popularity of tablets and smart phones, access to WiFi and better data plans will continue to facilitate a rise in VOD audiences. Out of Home viewing also occurs via TV monitors in airports, fitness clubs, bars and even at some gas pumps.

TV ATTRACTS LOYAL VIEWERS: Live entertainment, sports and popular serial television shows attract a loyal, attentive audience. Enough to say that appointment viewing is still alive and well.

Reach: Based on the compiled data, TV reaches approximately 70% of a country’s population a day, 90% in a week and nearly everyone in a month. It is the unique combination of this reach together with the huge volume of time spent watching TV that makes it such a powerful form of advertising. For example: In Finland, television reaches 97% of the population within a month.

Popularity:  TV, in all its forms, is the world’s favourite video. On average, based on the available data, TV accounts for 90% of the average viewer’s video time. For the younger millennial audience, who are the most enthusiastic experimenters with all forms of video, it is also the largest proportion of their video time at around 73% of the total. For example: In the Netherlands, TV accounts for 94,4% of all video time for the total population.

Resilience: Over the past decade, TV has proven remarkably resilient in an era of immense disruption. Despite the emergence of new SVOD services such as Netflix and the arrival of online video platforms such as YouTube, TV consumption has remained steadfast around the globe. Life stage also continues to be a significant driver of TV viewing.

Trust and impact: TV is the most trusted form of advertising and remains most likely to make consumers laugh, move them to tears or trigger emotions.

Effectiveness: Advertisers invest in TV advertising because it works. Studies around the world demonstrate TV’s many effects – and the positive impact it has on other media.

Due to its importance, reach and effectiveness, TV have a pivotal role to play in the campaign for the elimination of FGM.

Education is very key in the elimination of FGM because the fact that FGM is a social norm that is deeply rooted in culture and tradition based on myth.

TV stations should rise up to the challenge by promoting awareness of FGM and educating listeners and viewers about the facts of the harmful practise and how to stop it.

Briefly, let’s look into how we can leverage on Television to amplify the campaign for the elimination of FGM during this lockdown session.

Educating and entertaining: To be effective, messaging about FGM must be both educational and entertaining.

TV programmes such as soap opera, drama serial, skits can be created to inform their audiences about the consequences of FGM while, at the same time, achieving market success.

TV stations should talk about FGM: One of the most obvious roles of TV stations is to open channels of communication and foster discussion about FGM and interpersonal relationships.

A live and recorded TV programme that focuses on FGM elimination should be constantly air on TV station. Such programmes may include but not limited to Interviews, phone-in programmes, dairy of survivors where FGM survivors can willing share their experiences.

TV stations can promote FGM services: Collaboration between broadcasters, grass-roots organizations, service providers and government agencies can help to ensure that vital services, such as counselling and even treatment and care of people suffering from the consequence of FGM, are available on the ground. 

Putting FGM on the news agenda and encouraging leaders to take action: Another key area for media involvement in AIDS education efforts is ensuring that the topic is kept at the top of the news agenda.

Giving the harmful practice of FGM prominent news coverage will go along way at creating awareness about the elimination of the practice.

Dedicating airtime/space to FGM public service messages and video skit during favourite TV programmes will help the campaign grow bigger.

Making public service messages and original programming available to other outlets on a rights-free basis.

Participation in live broadcast will bring the message to a wide audience and inform/educate the public about ending FGM.

TV is a great window in our society which helps us to know more information about the world events; by using TV we tend to pass out more information visually which sinks more into memory.

Today information is everywhere. But TV has a particular authority. If you see something on TV, you know that millions of others are also seeing it, and that it has been verified. That’s why television remains the most popular and trusted platform for news, culture, sports and entertainment.

Great television programmes create communities around them. TV shows, live events and news make animated conversation for friends, family and colleagues. They bind people together and trigger reactions on social networks.

Its unrivalled reach and emotional power, television enables effective calls for action during humanitarian crises, natural disasters and social emergencies. It reaches out to society through programmes and communication campaigns on various issues.

Television has powerful visual nature which this powerful visual nature helps television to create vivid impressions in our minds which in turn leads to emotional involvement which makes television more memorable.

That’s as much as we can take on this week’s episode of the conference. You may now send in your questions.