Changing mindsets on FGM Radio show in Osun State, Nigeria

Changing mindsets on FGM Radio show in Osun State, Nigeria

Yusuf Dauda is an anti-FGM campaigner that has a close connection to schools in Osun State, Nigeria. He has been successful at helping to change the mindsets of the local people through Radio conversations.

Schools Sensitization:

On Friday 5th February 2021, Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI) team sensitized 200 selected secondary school students and 3 selected teachers in Oba Laoye Grammar School Ede South and Mapo Arogun Grammar School Ede North Local Government areas in Osun State in Commemoration of the 2021 International Day of Zero Tolerance Against Female Genital Mutilation themed; No Time for Global Inaction Unite, Fund and Act to End FGM.

The program started with an opening prayer where Mr. Yusuf Dauda (Team Lead) SDI asked every student to pray according to their faith. All members of the team were introduced one after the other, Mr. Yusuf Dauda introduced Mr. Ademola Adebisi (Executive Director) Value Re-orientation for Community Enhancement (VARCE), he started by telling the students about the International Day for Zero tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation coming up the next day 6th February 2021, What is the meaning of Female Genital Mutilation, Types of Female Genital Mutilation, Effects of Female Genital Mutilation, why do people perform it, why must FGM end and how can we engage our friends in our communities to end FGM  

Mr. Yusuf Dauda talked about religion, culture, gender, and FGM, Myths, and facts about FGM and Osun State FGM law.

Questions asked by the students:

Oba Laoye Grammar School Ede South Local Government

If FGM was against the law and how can I help to end FGM in my community

Olayiwola Suliyat

If FGM is an offense, why is our parent are in support of it 

Muhlat Zainab

Is there any solution for someone who they have done FGM 

Zakariyat Medinat

Mapo Arogun Grammar School Ede Local Government

Some family believe FGM must be done for their girls how do we educate them

Kabiru Aishat

If they decide to mutilate their girls; how can I get evidence to convince them of the effect of FGM? 

Kabiru Aishat

All their questions were answered by Mr. Ademola Adebisi and Mr. Yusuf Dauda and one of the teachers gave a vote of thanks appreciating the team of SDI and Global Media Campaign to end FGM for the great and important education for their selected students on the effects of FGM.

The closing prayer was coordinated by Mr. Salam Sheriff (Member of the team) SDI asking every student to pray according to their faith.

Radio:

On February 6th, 2021, in Commemoration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI) held 1-hour radio program on Osun State Broadcasting Corporation OSBC Radio 104.5 FM where His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr) Olubayo Adesola Windapo (Abidogun 1, the Alara of Ara), Hon John Ibirogba Babatunde Eleniyan (a member of Osun State house of Assembly representing Egbedore State Constituency) and Comrade Kehinde Onitiju (Osun State Chairman of Joint National Association of Persons with Disability) were the guests, The program was anchored by the duo of Oladipupo Jumoke and Egbayeto Emmanuel.

The traditional ruler and practicing medical doctor explained that cultural consideration for FGM is archaic and not scientifically based. He maintained that FGM has no value other than numerous health hazards for the victim. 

The king said his professional experience in the medical field within and outside Nigeria and his deep knowledge of the tradition of the Yorubas have put him in the best position to counsel the public on FGM.

Hon John Ibirogba Babatunde Eleniyan pointed that there is a law in Osun State on FGM since 2004 and anyone caught in the act is liable to a jail term or pay fine. He emphasized this in Yoruba language so that the grassroots people could understand the message.

Comrade Kehinde Onitiju spoke from the perspective of FGM for a girl with a disability. He described it as heinous complications especially for the crippled. He said such victims are more likely to suffer from cancer. Onitiju, as well as other guests, made a passionate appeal to the listeners to stop cutting their girls.

Phone-in segment Popoola from Ataoja area of Osogbo said the program has now changed his mindset about FGM because he was hearing it for the first time from a custodian of Yoruba cultural heritage who is also a medical doctor. He, therefore, charged the sponsor to focus more on using the traditional rulers to pass the message. 

Our audience reach covered about six million people in the South West divide from Osun, Oyo, Ondo, Kwara, Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Kogi, and Edo States.

The outcome of Radio programme 

I have received some calls to fix a physical meeting with me on FGM. Ede Muslim Forum specifically told me to get prepared for a serious debate on FGM with their leaders. I have promised them my physical presence anytime they are ready for such. 

Similarly, a real  Success story Ayodeji Kehinde came to the SDI office Sunday 7th February 2021 around 8 am to reveal his resolve to halt his plan to “circumcise” her first daughter Halima that evening. I went the extra length to further convince him that FGM is not Islamic. 

On useful linkages for future partnership, the Osun State Council of Traditional Rulers and Osun State House of Assembly can be contacted. They are ready to join in the campaign of abandonment of FGM in our society at any point in time.

Major challenge

The administrative bottleneck involved in getting permission to hold programs in public schools during this Covid -19 pandemic. We leveraged the existing rapport with some structures in the schools to have our way.

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.