Good evening all, I welcome you to today’s conference on behalf of Onyii  Mbam @mbamonyii (my co-host) and myself Olagoke-Adaramoye Dare (@dareadaramoye).

Our topic for today is “Empowering Community-based Organisations (CBOs) to monitor and report cases of FGM”.

It promises to be educative as always. We shall x-ray how to identify strategies for empowering CBOs to identify FGM cases and link them to service providers. We will entertain your questions from 6:45pm.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Female genital mutilation is classified into four types:  

Type I, also called clitoridectomy: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce.

Type II, also called excision: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora. The amount of tissue that is removed varies widely from community to community.

Type III, also called infibulation: Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and re-positioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora. This can take place with or without removal of the clitoris.

Type IV: All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example: pricking, piercing, incising, scraping or cauterization.

FGM practice is a myth that is deeply rooted in a strong cultural and social framework.

It is endorsed by the community and supported by loving parents with what is believed to be the best interest of a young girl at heart.

FGM can only be understood within its cultural context, in the communities where it is practised.

The beliefs sustaining the practice of FGM vary greatly from one community to another, although there are many common themes.

Empowerment of Community Based Organizations is a major key to ending the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Community-based organisations (CBOs) play an important and relevant role in providing services at the local level. They work in a variety of different fields, such as education, health, the rights of the disabled, gender issues, etc.

A CBO is a non-profit organisation that provides social services at the local level to improve life for residents. It is a non-profit organisation whose activities are based primarily on volunteer efforts. This means that CBOs depend heavily on voluntary contributions for labour, material and financial support.

Characteristics of a CBO includes; …

✦ It is non-profit;

✦ It relies on voluntary contributions;

✦ It acts at the local level; and…

✦ It is service-oriented…

The history and importance of community based organization (CBO) in rural communities is a long one. They have been deeply involved in activities that have impacted on the livelihood of rural people.

CBOs are formal voluntary social group that are found in communities which differ in size objective and degree of interaction among members.

In these organizations, members have the ability to influence ideas and actions of others with the purpose to plan, implement and monitor social and economic development programmes and provide technical and financial helps to the communities.

CBOs positively affect the process of rural change though increase in income, improvement of health, nutrition literacy of the people.

Some of the developmental programmes of CBOs bring changes in the rural communities such as health, education, micro finance, micro enterprise, sustainable agriculture, animal husbandry, safe water and sanitation.

It is very important for funders to equip CBOs with relevant skills and competencies for effective sustainable community development programming such as elimination of FGM.

Community-based organizations often need to be empowered to successfully enable themselves to be adaptable and responsive to the societal norm of FGM.

Here are some strategies for empowering CBOs to identify FGM cases…

1. Organise mentoring and coaching activities for community through CBOs.

2. Mobilise resource for institutional strengthening and sustainability of CBOs.

3. Create enabling environment for functionality of CBOs.

4. Train CBOS on how to conduct advocacy, Community Mobilization, Community Dialogue and sensitization visit.

5. CBOs need to be trained and provided with information on FGM. This will help CBOs have knowledge about FGM, why it’s been practiced in their local community and best approach to tackle it.

6. Build Capacity of CBOs on Programmatic issues aimed at elimination of FGM in their local communities.

7. Linking CBOs to community for ownership – It is very important for communities to take ownership of activities CBOs towards eliminating FGM through community dialogue and mobilization and let the community leaders take responsibility for ensuring their continuity.   This will make community support CBOs quest for elimination of FGM. As such community themselves will help CBOs to identify cases of FGM.

8. CBOs should be empowered to mainstreaming gender issue into programmes at community level.

9. Equal participation of males and females in activities should be encouraged while gender training for CBOs could go a long way in creating gender awareness and promoting elimination of FGM.

10. Encourage implementation of cost-effective activities – CBOs could engage in cost-effective activities that will not require transportation, refreshments and hiring of venue, chairs or equipment.

11. CBOs should engage with other community-based social groups in the sites to reach wider community – CBOs could engage with social groups like churches, mosques, age grades etc., which are easy to mobilise, have established structures and meetings or programmes that can be utilized.

12. Linkages or introduction of economic empowerment initiatives to address issues of poverty and provide alternate means of livelihood for those benefitting from FGM practices.

13. CBOs should be empowered to continue to train strategic members of the community as Peer Educators (PEs) on FGM   –

14. CBOs could use their regular meetings as an avenue for training and re-training members as peer educators to replace those leaving, therefore ensuring sustainability and scalability.

I will stop here for my colleague @mbamonyii to continue. Thank you for your time…

Thank you @dareadaramoye. I welcome you all to the second session of today’s tweet conference.

Linking community based organisations to service providers is one way empower CBOs to monitor and report new cases of FGM.

Service providers include the Health care providers, such as community health extension workers, Nurses, Doctors and not to forget the Traditional birth attendants (TBAs)..

Service providers will also include law enforcement agencies especially in communities where the Anti-FGM Laws such as the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law already exist.

CBOs can be linked to these service providers via a consensus building/ training meetings to strengthen their communication as that will influence the monitoring and reporting of FGM cases in that locality.

a: with this link in place, CBOs are put on the know each time any of these service providers encounter new cases.

29b:  when service providers go from one part of the community for health care service delivery, they also monitor the incidence and new cases of FGM in that area.

29c. this will help CBOs to cover most areas of the community in short time frame thus give speed to necessary intervention where needed.

Linking CBOs to service providers will also help them access documents/ case reports pertaining FGM in the given community.

30 b: For instance, if the police gets a case of child’ s death due to FGM, CBOs should be able to access that report as that will aid in mapping of the areas of the community where interventions are most needed as well as strategy for such intervention.

30 c: Beyond the intervention, this also serve as a way of monitoring the effect of the interventions in communities and the incidence of new cases noting the age bracket and the reasons backing up such.

Linking CBOs and service providers will also foster faster intervention especially in cases of emergencies.

31b: For instance, a CBO worker who heard a child is at risk of being cut can share the information with the health workers to mediate in the cases where a health worker is involved as the provider of the FGM services (I.e. Medicalisation of FGM).

This link will also help to identify/ monitor progress at the key areas of strength of the community and key areas of weakness, as this will aid in mapping interventions needed.

When Service providers especially the TBAs work with CBOs the campaign spreads faster as more women in the community trust so much on their TBA and a TBA becoming an end FGM will go a long way it help.

With this, we have come to end of today’s conference. Please keep your questions coming.

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Please remember to join us again on Thursday, 7th June 2018, for another edition of the weekly Twitter Conference.