By Felxfame Enisire

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.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified FGM into four types, all of which are practiced in Nigeria.

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

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

FGM Type III: This type is called infibulation and involves 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).

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.

The practice of FGM is common in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. But it can also happen to any woman or girl from any background regardless of age, race, nationality, social class, financial status or sexuality.

FGM is widely recognized as a harmful practice and a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted discrimination against girls and women, profoundly entrenched in social, economic and political structures.

While de facto violent, the practice is perpetrated without a primary intention of violence. It is considered to be a necessary step to enable girls to become women and to be socially accepted, together with the rest of the family.

FGM functions as a self-enforcing social convention or social norm. Families and individuals uphold the practice because they believe that their group or society expects them to do so and they expect that they will suffer social sanctions if they do not.

For more information on basic facts about FGM and how you can be part of this campaign kindly visit www.endcuttinggirls.com and  www.who.int. You can also watch end FGM related videos on our YouTube channel “Endcuttinggirls Nigeria”.

Nigeria has recorded a huge success in the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme since 2014 till date and has made lots of contribution to the elimination of female genital mutilation by 2030.

Nigeria is still part of the Phase 3 UNJP Programme and working with the Goal To accelerate efforts towards the reduction of FGM, fulfilling the rights of girls and women by realizing social and gender norms transformation by 202.

Nigeria’s focus in the endFGM Campaign is to protect Girls and women at risk of or affected by FGM, communities and institutions through the UNJP Programme.

The UNJP Commenced in Nigeria in 2014 and ever since, progress has been made in bot in Policy, Legislation and Information management.

 The UNJP from 2014-2015 carried out a Baseline Situation Assessment in 5 high prevalence States (Osun, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Oyo) and one low prevalence State (Lagos)

While Programme implementation in select Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Osun, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, and Oyo States commenced in 2015.

Nigeria used information- and dialogue-based processes to empower communities and build collective actions that lead to FGM elimination by…

Promoting institutional change in terms of policies and legislation (Outcome 1).

Promoting sustainable social norms change and gender transformation leading to gender equality (Outcome 2),

Supporting the provision of FGM-related prevention, protection and care services (Outcome 3).

Its good to note that in 2015, Nigeria signed into law the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act and most of the focal states has domestic the law while others enacted Laws prohibiting the Practice of FGM.

In 2018 the Joint Programme boosted efforts to support the development of national policies and guidelines to prohibit the medicalization of FGM in Nigeria.

In partnership with the Centre for Population and Reproductive Health, Collegeof Medicine, University of Ibadan in Nigeria, 13 medical professional associationssigned a declaration stating that medicalization of FGM is unethical.

The 13medical associations committed to establishing surveillance systems to track healthcare professionals who violate the declaration.

On the side of Information management, The UNJP has ensured the integration of FGM into the Health Management Information Systems (HMIS).

Currently, in Nigeria, FGM related services is now built into routine services at Primary health Care Facilities (Counseling Antenatal, Immunization)

Also, hundreds of communities are now declaring FGM abandonment, especially in the 5 joint program focus statesin Nigeria, making the practice culturally illegal.

This is evident in the reduction of the practice in Nigeria as the country experienced a decline in the practice of FGM according to the National Demography and health Survey (NDHS 2018).

Comparison of Prevalence of FGM (NDHS 2013 & 2018) – 15–49yrs National: from 25% to 20%.  (Insert Image)

Comparison of Prevalence of FGM (NDHS 2013 and 2018) – 0–14yrs National: from 18.6% to 19.2%(Insert Image)

Though the national average for Girls aged 0-14years increased, but the five focal states where the UNJP is taking place experienced a huge decline in the practice.

To learn more about the @endcuttinggirls Social Media Campaign to end FGM, please visit endcuttinggirls.org and follow our social media handles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, using @endcuttinggirls

Together we will end FGM in this generation.