CIRDDOC/UNFPA Household Discussion on the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting and the Utilization of Skilled Birth Attendants in Ebonyi and Imo states held from July – September 2015.
OBJECTIVES OF THE ACTIVITY
- To create awareness on the negative effects of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.
- To encourage the populace to make use of skilled birth attendants.
- To get households to commit to the abandonment of FGM/C.
- To set up a referral system in which the trained Champions against FGM refer cases on FGM, ANC and family planning to trained health workers.
- To reduce the practice of FGM/C in the pilot states.
KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF ACTIVITY PROCEEDINGS
One of the champions discovered that a household still cut their children. For instance, when the champion visited the household in Afikpo, she was informed that they have made arrangement to cut their daughter the following day. The champion explained to them the consequences of female genital mutilation and fortunately, she convinced them not to cut the child. The appointment for the cutting was cancelled immediately.
Two hundred and seven households embark on the practice simply because it is their tradition and as a result, it was a bit difficult to convince them otherwise.
The champions in Afikpo reported that the people were highly ignorant of the campaign against FGM and had so much respect for their traditions. A total number of one thousand eight hundred and sixty nine visits were made to the different households before they were convinced to abandon FGM.
Households in other LGAs confirmed that they have heard about the need to abandon FGM due to series of sensitisation programmes carried out in the area.
One of the champions gave a report of a woman who faced hostility from other villagers and relatives because she did not cut her female children. According to the champion, the villagers insulted and called the woman names and threatened to pull down her house. She was advised to report the case to CIRDDOC or Ministry of Women Affairs if they continue to disturb her.
The Messages on the abandonment of FGM was disseminated to a total no of 17,721 persons (3,110) men, women (3,920) pregnant women (1,198) Nursing mothers (1,779) young boys (3,263), (3,916) young girls, adolescents- 535. Number of visits conducted (1,869), sessions conducted (1,116), households who committed to abandon FGM (1,579), Number of resistant households (207).
ACHIEVEMENTS/OUTPUTS OF THE ACTIVITY
- A high level of awareness has been created on the need to stop female genital mutilation and the risks associated with it.
- There were positive responses from the people as many committed to abandon the act.
- In some of the communities like Logara in Ngor Okpala LGA, a youth committee was set up to serve as a watchdog and report cases of FGM to the traditional ruler and his cabinet.
- The champions gained the support of the traditional rulers and other community leaders who also support their work.
- The traditional ruler of Logara and Amala both in Ngor Okpala LGA and other traditional rulers in the pilot LGAs and their wives are champions against FGM and are committed towards eradicating the menace.
- The traditional ruler of Ohatekwe in Ebonyi LGA and his cabinet members set up a monitoring team to arrest and handover offenders to the police.
- The champions worked with the health workers who report new births so that the champions can monitor and prevent their parents from cutting them.
In summary, the exercise was a huge success as one thousand five hundred and seventy nine households listened attentively to the message and committed to abandon FGM/C.
There is need for continuous sensitisation so as to dismantle the traditional structure that encourages FGM/C and ensure total eradication.