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A Three Month Summer Media Campaign to End FGM

By Sadia Hussein,

UNFPA/GMC funded 14 media campaigns over the summer period. The focus for Kenya over this period was to stop summertime FGM initiations. One of the summer media highlights was Sadia Hussein’s work (GMC Media graduate). Sadia ran a three-month media campaign from June to August.

Here Sadia Hussein shares her recent work documenting issues through Kenyan Media covering issues such as Disability and FGM, FMG and Religion, Campaigns trending on Twitter, and more.

A word from Sadia on Disabilities and FGM:

“As a media graduate, I want to bring awareness to the realities on the ground which are never reported. FGM and disability has never been discussed. It is a topic worth covering. Women must not wait for anyone, I wanted to give them the confidence to say ENOUGH!”

Sadia Hussein

FGM and Giving Birth Broadcast on Citizen TV 

I also visited Dr. Hawa a reproductive health officer and here she explained for Citizen TV how women suffer during delivery.

“Some lose babies and others develop Fistula. FGM has been a Major complication at the maternity. They receive 6 cases every month.”

Dr. Hawa

Female Religious Scholar training women on the harmful effects of FGM

Engaging female Religious scholar Ustadha Ralia Ahmed who is also a survivor of FGM was a successful part of my campaign, her input added more value, and coming from a religious stance the women looked up to her and respected her words, we worked together with the media and captured more stories from different angles.

Ustadha Ralia Ahmed training Women on FGM. She discussed deep words that male scholars cannot discuss with women.

The power of media to End FGM #KenyaEndFGM

We ran a Twitter hashtag trending which was very successful and reached over 7 million people in Kenya. The trending started from 10 am at the top ten nationally, though not captured. From 12. It was captured as in the screenshots.

Kenya End FGM was still trending in Kenya beyond 7 pm. It has touched people and was trending the whole day. We reached over 7 million people! Over 3 thousand tweets with this hashtag!

On Radio 

The radio talk show that we arranged reached 600,000 people. The conversations included religious scholars that spoke against FGM. Memorable quotes from the programme and very important statements:

“We accept girls as created by God and FGM is not a religious requirement.”

Sheikh Abdullahi Gudo

Sheikh Abdullahi Gudo delinked FGM from Religion and cleared the community misconception.

“Young men are ready to marry girls as created by GOD. No FGM!”

Abdulmalik Ahmed

Overview of The Media Campaign Reach:

  • Citizen TV…. 10 million people
  • NTV….. 6 million people
  • KTN….. 4 million people 
  • K24…….. 3 million people
  • The standard paper…… 2 million people
  • Twitter …… reached over 7 million people
  • Amani FM …… 600,000 people

Our reflection: 

 Radio talk Show:

There was a call-in where the religious scholar was able to clear the community misconception. Stating clearly that FGM is not a religious requirement.

The woman who said no one will marry our girls was answered by Abdulmalik saying that young men are ready to marry girls as created by God.

Online Posters and videos:

We ran 30 posters online from 1st July for a month (30 days):

The posters were to pass message which majority felt that they were very powerful.

Running of 30 videos online. Hearing the anti FGM voices of Religious leaders, Survivors, ambassadors, and Eliud Kipchge for 30 days.

Citizen TV documentary on FGM Survivors & Female scholars (The Deaf and Blind)

K24 TV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtjeUhZaYzY

            Citizen TV https://youtu.be/GYnA-CnnTDk , 

KTN  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVuIGYf81VI

NTV https://youtu.be/HaQzgucMMZo

Strong messages from the campaign: 

  • The greatest messages were survivors saying enough!
  • Female scholars raising their voices via media.
  • The Young man saying we are ready to accept our sisters as created by God.
  • Male Religious scholar saying it bold on the Radio that FGM Is not ISLAMIC.

If we were to do this activity again we would… 

  1. Put more effort on survivors speaking and female scholars.

2. Community Radio listening sessions.

3. Schools mentorship live on Radio.

Success!

  • The reason I emphasized the women scholars is for them to empower fellow women using the Holy books and because Ustadha Ralia Ahmed is an FMG survivor she can also talk from her experience.  
  • The Muslim women who are not cut were justifying that FGM is not a religious requirement and women don’t have to suffer.
  • This is what made the National TVs highlight the stories repeatedly. When the angle of the story is unique then it captures all of the Media.
  • The survivor’s stories of PWDs and FGM complications went viral both on print and mainstream media. It was a huge success. Among them was Halima who is now receiving treatment after highlighting her story. Due to FGM, she got a C-section delivery which later got complications. She went through reconstructive surgeries with continuous pain and this again is a story that will help to make people think again about abandoning FGM.

Ruth Harley

Ruth Harley is an opera singer, writer, and creative. She is running The Women’s Vinyl Project which empowers women and girls through singing and music. She is working with GMC as the Website News Editor, compiling stories written by End FGM campaigners working with the Global Media Campaign to End FGM across Africa.