WHATSAPP CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT: Youth Engagement for Global Action against FGM – 12.08.2020
Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises 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.
The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. In many settings, health care providers perform FGM due to the belief that the procedure is safer when medicalized. WHO strongly urges health care providers not to perform FGM.
FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.
For more information on FGM, types and steps taken to end the practice, kindly visit the following links:
Each year, approximately four million girls undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), a harmful practice that intentionally alters or causes injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
FGM is a deeply-rooted, complex issue, but bold action has been taken, and continues to be taken, to eliminate it.
Decades of heroic activism, research, legislation, and international cooperation has made significant progress to end FGM.
Good evening all and Happy International Youth day to all the young persons in the house.
Today, our focus for this series will be on “Youth Engagement for Global Action against FGM”
The theme of International Youth Day 2020, “Youth Engagement for Global Action” seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.
Enabling the engagement of youth in formal political mechanisms does increase the fairness of political processes by reducing democratic deficits, contributes to better and more sustainable policies, and also has symbolic importance that can further contribute to restore trust in public institutions, especially among youth.
Moreover, the vast majority of challenges humanity currently faces, such as the COVID-19 outbreak and Female Genital Mutilation require concerted global action and the meaningful engagement and participation of young people to be addressed effectively.
While significant progress in eliminating the practice of FGM has been made in the last 30 years, approximately 200 million girls and women alive today have had their genitals mutilated.
This can lead to long-term physical, psychological and social consequences.
Support for the practice of FGM is dwindling. Adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 in countries where female genital mutilation is prevalent are less supportive of continuing the practice than are women aged 45 to 49.
In many countries, young girls are at much lower risk of being subjected to FGM than their mothers and grandmothers were. However, rapid youth population growth in countries where female genital mutilation is prevalent could lead to a significant rise in the number of girls at risk by 2030.
Today’s young people can play a critical role in ending the practice. This will mean investing in youth-led movements to champion gender equality, an end to violence against women and girls and the elimination of harmful practices.
This requires including young people as partners when designing and implementing national action plans, building relationships with youth-led organizations and networks that work to end FGM and recognize it as a form of violence against women and girls, empowering young people to lead community campaigns that challenge social norms and myths, and engaging men and boys as allies.
Abolishing FGM in Africa is first and foremost a matter of young people, gender and citizenship. It requires a cross-sectional vision of development.
But this is not a goal young people can achieve alone, nor can it be addressed in isolation from other forms of violence against women and girls or from gender inequality. It also requires strong political leadership and commitment.
In Africa, access to information is exploding: information and communication technologies (ICTs) are no longer a novelty, daily life is constantly transforming and many beliefs and practices are changing as a result of availability of evidence-based information and data, particularly among young people.
If young people – both male and female – are the big winners in the digital revolution, how were they involved in this undertaking that concerns them intimately as victims, subjects, objects, actors, citizens, leaders and family and community stakeholders?
What gender issues do globalization and ICTs raise? Why and how would it be appropriate and even essential to incorporate them into a strategic vision of citizen, public, private and personal development?
In this age of the Internet, young people must take advantage of this tool to share information among their peers and drive policy and perception change.
Engaging young people through social media has contributed to the campaign to end FGM. A typical example is the endcuttinggirls campaign supported by UNICEF and UNFPA.
The young people that are active in the digital space and on social media are young parents or the ones that will become parents in a few years time. With proper engagement and change of perception, the next generation of parents will be committed to abandonment of the practice.
Especially in Africa with a relatively young population, youth engagement will help to accelerate the abandonment of the practice.
The internet provides a platform for knowledge sharing and cross-fertilization of ideas among contemporaries on what works in other climes. Young people can share their challenges and wins with their colleagues in other places. Ideas gotten from such engagement will inform innovative adaptations that may help to sustain the campaign locally.
Also, knowing that the campaign to abandon FGM is making progress in other places, will provide needed motivation for other youth and stakeholders to continue to push for its abandonment in their own local spaces.
The internet provides a platform for young people to learn about Female Genital Mutilation, report suspected cases and seek for help for survivors of FGM.
Also, young people have been engaged to lead campaigns to end FGM in their Communities. A major feature of youth is energy. With the right information, the youth can match their energy to amplify the message of FGM abandonment, not only on the internet, but also in their communities and various spheres of influence, such as in socal, religious, even economic spaces.
Intergenerational dialogue provides a platform for Young people to interact with the older generation on their stand about the practice of Female Genital Mutilation.
Building the effective participation of youth and promoting their voices to reach the communities, as it is necessary to build their skills and knowledge on FGM issues.
Academic institutions are where most youth meet, and it is necessary to engage with them to discuss FGM issues. The campaign has to be included in the social and academic conversations that occur in these institutions.
It is equally important to not only denormalize FGM, it serves to bring the issue out of the shroud of darkness where it is discussed in hush tones. A lot of people are not aware that such happens in their communities, because it is not openly discussed. Such secrecy allows the practice to perpetuate. Youth need to publicly engage the subject, so as to discredit the arguments and bring to light the adverse effects of FGM.
Changing the attitude and behaviors of youth, Youth Anti FGM Somaliland follows strategies to reach its purpose to engage more youth in the education system
Promoting youth dialogues and discussions on FGM issues is needed to attract youth who are unaware of the issues in urban and rural areas
In conclusion, youth are the power of every nation, it is clear that meaningful engagement of Youths in the campaign to end FGM, the practice will not continue to the next generation.