EndFGM

TWEET CONFERENCE SCRIPT: Sustaining and Amplifying the campaign to end FGM in Nigeria through EndFGM Community Champions” on Thursday, 10th January 2019”

Female genital mutilation (FGM) otherwise known as female genital cutting or female circumcision 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”.

In other words, it is any procedure that causes injury to the female genitals without 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 and/or cutting of the vagina (‘gishiri’), scraping of tissue surrounding the vaginal opening (‘angurya’) and cauterization.

It also includes the introduction of corrosive substances into the vagina to cause bleeding or to tighten or narrow the vagina. 

Despite FGM being a deeply embedded social norm with complex and various sociocultural justifications, it is and would always be a harmful and dangerous practice which can result in severe physical and mental health complications.

Effects of FGM, all negative, cannot be fully quantified as it varies from woman to woman, girl to girl. Some short term, and others long term.  

To sustain the campaign towards FGM abandonment, every community affected must be fully involved. This brings us to the place where FGM Community champions (FCC) play a major role.  

An FCC is any person who has been trained and equipped with information and skills to reach out to community members for the purpose of positively influencing decisions, actions, practices or behaviors towards FGM and it’s abandonment. 

After their training, FCC’s carry out the following community level activities:  

  • The FCCs Conducts of Interpersonal communication sessions with individuals, families and small groups
  • The FCCs conducts awareness creation in Schools, Churches, Market places, and Village meetings etc

They also Conduct educational/dialogue sessions with community groups during their regular meetings (women groups, religious groups, Male Groups, Youth groups etc.).

Additionally, the FCCs Support girls/women and influential community members to speak out against FGM

Where there are cases of FGM, the FCCs reports such cases to the appropriative Ministries, Departments or Agencies with the help of their community leaders.  If there should be any form of complication as a result of FGM, the FCCs ensures that such issues are addressed by service providers (health facilities, etc.)

The FCCs can work as volunteers for statutory bodies or agencies involved in the end FGM campaign (community, LGA, State) to deliver FGM-related services

The FCCs has the full power of their traditional rulers to monitor delivery homes to ensure female children are not subjected to FGM. Wherever a female baby is delivered within the community, the FCCs will be available to educate the family members on the dangers of FGM which is known as “household education sessions”

Once the FCCs are seen as being knowledgeable on issues concerning FGM, neighboring Communities invites them to speak to their people during community festivals. Activity reports of the FCCs are reviewed and signed by their traditional ruler as part of an endorsement of their monthly activities before it is being transmitted to the appropriate authorities at state level.

The FCCs also team up to form a forum in their community to campaign against any health issue that is not in the best interest of their Girls and Women in their Community and also expands to other neighboring community.  

The reports of the FCCs will help the traditional rulers keep track of the number of female babies delivered in their communities and the number subjected to FGM each month.

Before the selection of FCCs in a community, the following factors are to be considered:

i). Determine the number of FCCs required to cover a community (using data from assessment process).

ii). Ask community stakeholders (e.g., traditional, religious leaders, etc.) and service providers (health facilities, etc.) for recommendations for FCC candidates during regular advocacy visits.

iii). Manage expectations about the selection process, and screen candidates for conflicts of interest (e.g., nepotism).

 Preliminary interview of shortlististed FCC candidates is advised to assess their personalities and confidence to engage in discussions with people. This is be carried out before training commences.  In conclusion, In Sustaining and Amplifying the campaign to end FGM in Nigeria, we need end FGM Community Champions.

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EndFGM

TWEET CONFERENCE SCRIPT: “Empowering Pregnant Women and Young Mothers to Protect their Babies from FGM – 14th June, 2018

Good evening and welcome to today’s tweet conference. I am Okoye Robinson and I would be joined by Aderonke Olutayo and Cynthia Omo.

Today we shall be looking at “Empowering Pregnant Women and Young Mothers to Protect their Babies from FGM.

FGM stands for Female Genital Mutilation and it comprises all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

There are four types of FGM and they are:

Type 1 (Clitoridectomy) involves the removal of the prepuce with or without excision of part of the clitoris.

Type 2 (Excision) is the removal of the clitoris with partial or total removal of the labia minora

Type 3 (Infibulation) is the removal of part of the external genitalia, stitching and narrowing of the vaginal orifice for urination and menstrual flow

Type 4 (unclassified) refers to all other harmful procedures such to the female genitalia such as pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, etc for non-medical reasons

 

FGM has short terms and long term effects on the health and well-being of women. For more information on FGM please visit our website: www.endcuttinggirls.org

You can also watch:

Pregnant women are a major key to ending this harmful practice called FGM.

FGM is a Human right violation and if all mothers and would-be mothers understand that FGM is against human right and inflicts pains and health risks on it survivors, they will do all they can to save their girl-children.

If a would-be mother who may have been cut is well informed on the negative effects of FGM and that the practice has no know positive effect, she will protect her girl from undergoing through what she knows may harm her.

A mother can solely decide whether or not to cut her girl-child.

Research has found that in most cases of FGM, the fathers are left out of the plan to cut the girl-child. Some are not even aware that such practices exist.

So the campaign to end FGM cannot be 100% successful without pregnant women and young mothers being enlightened on FGM and then they join in the campaign against it.

Studies have also shown that most young women do not even why such practice exists. They perform cutting on their girl-child with the narrative…

Since my mother did it to me, I will do the same to my own children. This is mostly how traditional practices grow to become a norm and difficult to tame. It ends up leading to the fear that if it’s not done, the defaulter will be inflicted negatively.

So, we must empower pregnant women and young mothers with the right and effective tools to stand against this practice that has become social norm.

Empowerment in this sense can be termed “Educating pregnant women and young mothers.”

Education is a key to ending a social norm, because one can’t give what one doesn’t have.

This education must include empirical facts on why pregnant mothers should not even consider FGM either at the point of delivery or afterwards. Proper information on the ills of FMG will expose the truth that it has no positive effect as against any myth that may have stood as grounds for which the act is carried out.

Research based results embedded with verifiable facts, will have a young mother no other option than to protect her girl-child. We see an example in the story of a woman named Mary, a community health Volunteer and a lead member of the ‘Shininess’ mother-to-mother group.

In her interview with Christian Aid Kenya, her daughter asked her, ‘Mama, why are you telling me not to be circumcised, when you are circumcised?’

Mary was, due to adequate knowledge on the practice, able to answer her daughter effectively. If Mary was not properly enlightened, she would not have been able to give an effective answer to the question.

These could have left her daughter with questions and second guesses that may overthrow her mother’s stand if she is faced with people and situations that suggest FGM as the right thing to do.

If 200 million pregnant women are empowered effectively on the need to abandon FGM, it will translate to saving over 200 million girl-child who would have been at risk of being cut.

The video in this link will show you how a mother prevented her mother-in-law from cutting her child. www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a5zXwlnn_4

So, a question begs for answer. Where and how do we educate (empower) pregnant women and young mothers on how to protect their babies.

Ante-natal care program is the best avenue to empower pregnant women on the importance and need to protect their girl-child from FGM.

Antenatal care is the routine health control of presumed healthy pregnant women without symptoms (screening), in order to diagnose diseases or complicating obstetric conditions without symptoms and to provide information about lifestyle, pregnancy and delivery.

Pregnant women are expected to regularly attend ante-natal care prior to delivery.

At each antenatal visit, participants are educated on pregnancy and birth, and about parenting a new baby. This explains why the Ante-natal care program is the best avenue to empower pregnant women on preventing their babies from undergoing FGM.

When #endfgm is successfully mainstreamed into Ante-natal care teachings, pregnant women will be properly educated on why they should prevent their girl-child from FGM.

This cannot be achieved without first training their Ante-natal care providers which include; Mid-wives, Nurses, Doctors and even Traditional birth attendants.

When these care providers are properly educated and empowered on the #endfgm campaign, they will transfer it to pregnant women who visit for ante-natal care which will result in the women abandoning FGM.

We must not forget that a postnatal follow-up be also carried out to ensure that the girl-child is not cut. We cannot also forget the tremendous influence of the religious bodies; church, mosque and traditional religious leaders.

Most of the religious bodies have women groups which we can utilize to train and educate young mothers and pregnant women. Community women groups cannot be left out too because women leaders in the community are known to wield so much influence.

They can in the course of educating young mothers and pregnant women on how to care for their babies, teach women to prevent their girl-child from FGM. All these and so much more could come in handy in seeing an end to FGM in our generation.

Thank you for reading through. We would be taking your questions now. Comments and Suggestions are also welcomed.

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