Engaging communities has been proved to be one of the best approaches to ending harmful practices across the globe

UNICEF Nigeria intensified efforts in engaging communities which have led to a great number of communities publicly abandoning FGM in Nigeria

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is defined as “all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”.

This means that #FGM is a procedure that causes injury to the female genitals without any known medical indication.

The World Health Organization (@WHO), classifies FGM into four broad types, based on the anatomical extent of the procedure: …

Type I (Clitoridectomy): This refers to the partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (the fold of skin covering the clitoris). This is also referred to as ‘Sunna’.

Type II (Excision): Removal (in part or whole) of the clitoris and labia minora. The labia majora may or may not be removed. 

Type III (Infibulation): Here, the vaginal orifice is narrowed, and a covering seal created by cutting and repositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora. The clitoris may also be removed. It is sometimes referred to as ‘Pharaonic’.

Type IV (Unclassified): Any other harmful procedure performed on the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example: pricking, piercing and incision of the clitoris and/or labia, stretching or scraping of tissue surrounding the vaginal opening.

 It also includes the introduction of corrosive substances into the vagina to cause bleeding or to tighten or narrow the vagina, as well as massaging the clitoris with hot water or petroleum jelly to de-sensitize the clitoris (common in Imo State). 

In communities where FGM is practiced, it’s seen as a worthy social norm to make women better and preserve them, hence inflicting harm on girls and women unknowingly.

These communities are unaware that FGM violates human rights of girls/women, and has immediate and long-term negative effects on their health & general wellbeing

Because FGM is deeply rooted in tradition and persists as a social norm that is upheld by underlying gender structures, engaging communities through dialogue will be effective.

This is because most of the traditional practices are upheld and kept largely by community dwellers

For more information concerning FGM, kindly visit our website or YouTube Channel ( https:// www.endcuttinggirls.org or https://www.youtube.com/endcuttinggirls)

When communities decides to end a practice, they make laws against it but how can the communities accelerate this change of ending FGM?

Communities dialogue is one of the best ways to engage the communities in understanding the importance of championing the end FGM now crusade.

When they understand that FGM stands for everything negative as against what they believe or feel about the practice, they will themselves lead the campaign to end it.

According to CGI, Community dialogue is a forum that draws participants from different sections of a community and creates the opportunity for exchanging information & perspectives, clarifying viewpoints, and developing solutions to issues of interest to them

The aim of any community dialogue is to develop a common understanding through the exchange of ideas and perspectives.

The exchange of ideas and views will enable the communities in understanding that FGM is a harmful practice and the need to end it.

The importance of Community dialogue includes; it enables a face-to-face exchange of information about the practice among people in other to reach a mutual understanding

25b. Participants will have a chance to listen to each other and also speak freely their perspective of FGM.

It gives participants personalized space to question cultural beliefs and understand why FGM is harmful and should be abandoned.

Community dialogue can take place in informal settings such as under a tree and members chosen across the community

This should be a platform to discuss FGM and not attack or criticize their cultural practices as this will defeat the aim of the dialogue.

Community dialogue have led to a number of Public abandonment across Nigeria as members of the communities through their leaders accept to end the practice.

These community further makes laws prohibiting FGM in their communities.

After a Community dialogue, the Community develops an Action plan of activities they will carry out towards ending FGM.

One of the Activities that can be contained in their action plan includes Community-Community Dialogue.

Community to Community dialogue is a new strategy UNICEF Nigeria is using to end FGM in communities.

Community to Community dialogue involves inviting Communities that have publicly declared FGM abandonment to talk to the other communities that are yet to abandon FGM.

The Community yet to abandon FGM identifies a neighboring Community through the help of the partners working to end FGM.

The Community that have declared FGM abandonment on invitation sends their Youth Leader, Women Leader and President General of their Community Town Union to attend the Community to Community dialogue of the other Community.

At the meeting, experience by Communities that HAS abandoned FGM will be shared in the following manner:

Why did your community decide to end the practice of FGM?

How did your community engage all stakeholders before reaching a consensus to end FGM?

How is your community identifying and protecting girls at risk of FGM?

What does your community do to anyone that performs FGM?

This exercise will help the Community that has NOT abandoned FGM to see that ending FGM in their community is possible and of their neighboring communities could achieve it, they can as well.

At the end of the meeting, the Community that has NOT abandoned FGMwill develop an action plan that will respond to the following questions:

How will you mobilise your community to end the practice of FGM?

What are the anticipated challenges and how do you intend to overcome it?

Is there any group in the community that must be mobilised in order to end FGM?

Will you require any external support? If yes, what would that be?

In Conclusion, through Community to Community dialogue, we believe that Accelerating the abandonment of FGM will occur faster than projected.

I’ll like to stop here to give room for questions, comments and feedbacks. Thank you for the time! Join us every Thursday same time to

You can access the transcript of this conference and for previous weeks on www.endcuttinggirls.org. Other exciting materials are there for your use. Join us on facebook, twitter and Instagram for our other social media activities using @endcuttinggirls.

The EndCuttingGirls Campaign has produced a number of videos that are uploaded on our YouTube Channel ( www.youTube.com/endcuttinggirls)which can be used as educational materials during community discussions.