The Theme for this Year, 2021, is No Time for Global inaction: Unite, Fund and Act to end FGM.

The essence of the United Nations “international days” are to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.

This year’s event reminds us of the global urgency and calls organizations and individuals to intensify and improve cooperation, efforts and commitments for the eradication of FGM within our generation.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights, the health and the integrity of girls and women.

Girls who undergo female genital mutilation face short-term complications such as severe pain, shock, excessive bleeding, infections, and difficulty in passing urine, as well as long-term consequences for their sexual and reproductive health and mental health.

The direct financial cost of treating the negative health complications caused by FGM can span generations, starting as early as childbirth if no global action is taken to eliminate the practice.

This puts a significant economic burden on health systems and national budgets, especially in countries with rates of FGM greater than 10%.

Until now, there have been limited data on the financial costs associated with FGM, making it hard to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of programmes and policies that can prevent FGM by 2030 –a global priority in the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Rates of FGM have declined over the past 30 years, but not fast enough to keep up with population growth.

If trends continue, the number of girls and women undergoing FGM will rise significantly in the next 15 years, in turn raising national health care costs of caring for them.

Additional resources are urgently needed to scale up interventions that can prevent FGM in the future and reduce health complications.

UNFPA estimates additional 2 million girls projected to be at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation by 2030.

In response to this disruption, the United Nations, through its UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme, has been adapting interventions that ensure the integration of female genital mutilation in humanitarian and post-crisis response.

According to a UN publication, in 2021 alone, there are 4.16 million girls around the world, who are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation.

According to a UNFPA (pre-COVID-19) study, the cost of preventing female genital mutilation is $95 per girl today.

Thirty (30) countries where female genital mutilation is prevalent are experiencing high population growth, with at least 30 per cent of girls undergoing female population under the age of 15.

Around 1 in 4 girls and women, or 52 million worldwide, experienced female genital mutilation, performed by health personnel pointing to an alarming trend in the medicalization of female genital mutilation.

In Nigeria, the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on the elimination of FGM: Accelerating Change, currently focuses in 5 FGM most prevalence states in Nigeria (Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Osun and Oyo).

The UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme, which is in Phase 3 that runs from 2018 to 2021, has funded Community level interventions in Nigeria to end Female Genital Mutilation and ensure that end FGM activities are on-going amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Over the years, this partnership has seen significant achievements, which can be assessed through https://www.unicef.org/protection/unfpa-unicef-joint-programme-eliminating-fgm

For instance, more than 2.8 million people participated in public declarations of FGM elimination.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7OLjEBJrNk&list=PL2bH-jsY2oExqQcFCO6ImNJV0dCtudFBE

Also, the number of communities establishing surveillance structures to track girls doubled and protected 213,774 girls from undergoing the practice.

Also, Communities across Nigeria has developed strategies to engage Community member to take actions to put an end to FGM as a result of capacity building session delivered by UNICEF and UNFPA State partners.

Policies and legislation protecting the rights of girls and women to live free from violence and discrimination has been enacted by the Government of Nigeria.

Locally, religious leaders are speaking up against FGM by striking down myths that female genital mutilation has a basis in religion.

This is because societal pressures often drive the practice, individuals and families need more information about the benefits of abandoning it.

Also, Advocacy campaigns and social media are still on-going to amplify the message that ending female genital mutilation saves and improves lives.

Finally, Together, we can eliminate female genital mutilation by 2030. Doing so will have a positive ripple effect on the health, education and economic advancement of girls and women. -António Guterres.

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.

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

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 http://www.who.int or watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0-dYD9cYKo&t=80s

For more information about FGM you can visit http://www.who.int or watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0-dYD9cYKo&t=80s

Thanks for being part of our conversations today. Join us every Thursday 5-7pm. Visit our website www.endcuttinggirls.org and kindly follow the handle “Endcuttinggirls Nigeria’’ on all social media platforms.

It’s time to hear and respond to your questions and/or opinions based on the conference. Keep them coming.

Together we will end FGM in this generation.