More awareness is needed on FGM, Kwara State, Nigeria

More awareness is needed on FGM, Kwara State, Nigeria

By Anthonia Oshiniwe,

Anthonia Oshiniwe is an anti-FGM campaigner who shares in this report her recent activities in Kwara State, Nigeria.

Venues for activities: 

Senior Secondary School Danialu, Ilorin, Kwara State and Diamond FM 88.7, Ilorin, Kwara State

School Interaction:

The team was at Senior Secondary School Danialu, Ilorin, Kwara State to have an interactive session with the students

Objectives of the activity

  1. To get the female students acquainted with their rights as a girl child, by building a healthy self-esteem within them while preparing them for womanhood in future
  2. To help the female students in respect of the hygiene life
  3. To explain Female Genital Mutilation to the students, the procedure and disadvantages in it so that they are aware before approaching womanhood. They can’t fight against it for themselves now (as most of them are cut already as a child) but they can fight against it for the future of their unborn children.
  4. Explain the very essence of education to them so that they will fight to further their education and not go into child marriage or trafficking as is common in this part
  5. The male students were also brought in and educated as they are the potential perpetrators

Facilitators:

Mrs Tosin Apiriola-Ajayi:

She is the Executive Director of Women and Youths Development Initiative a women and youths-focused NGO in the state. She explained Female Genital Mutilation, the procedure, and the aftermath of the consequences, she had run a project on FGM so she spoke on her experiences on the field using it as encouragement and motivation for the students.  She spoke on various women who have become someone now using it to encourage the female student that they can be whoever and whatever they choose to become.

Mrs. Aishat Omotayo Temim: 

She is a legal practitioner and she spoke extensively on the Rights and Obligations required by the Child Rights Law, Kwara State. she also spoke on the punishment of various crimes common amongst students and encouraged the students to desist from such. She also spoke about the newly domesticated Violation Against Persons Prohibition Law, Kwara State which prohibits Female Genital Mutilation, Child Marriage, Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, use of drugs, etc…

Observations and recommendations:

It was observed that most of the female students are not emotionally balanced and they have been involved with sexual activities despite the fact they were all mutilated as children (this contradicts the myth of promiscuity when not mutilated). Numbers were given out for further help for the students as it was observed that there is a need for psychosocial support and medical support for them. There is a need for more school interaction sessions for students

Media Activity for Sensitization:

The media house used was Diamond FM 88.7 in Ilorin

Objectives of the activity 

  1. To continue sensitization through the Media
  2. To bring to public notice that there is a law prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation in the State
  3. To also use it as a medium to request for the gazette of the domesticated law so that it will be accessible to the public

Speakers:

Dr. Adeyemi Omorola Motunrayo:

She is a medical Doctor (Obstetrics and Gynecology), she is a mother and she is a Muslim. 

She spoke on the medical aspect and also a Muslim, the religious aspect of it. The main concern in Ilorin, Kwara State is the fact that it is still seen as a religious obligation. She stated that there is/are no advantages in Female genital Mutilation; rather there are consequences that occur mostly in the future. She spoke on death, infections that eventually lead to infertility amongst other consequences. Also, that Female Genital Mutilation is just a long time culture adopted not a religious obligation.

Mrs. Mojirola Ibiyemi Esq:

She explained in detail the provision of the existing law. she further explained to listeners that not only perpetrators are liable but those that witnessed it but did not call for help. She, however, encouraged that there is no ignorance in law.

Mr. Ataba Mohammed:

Founder of Baba Slum Cares Foundation, a foundation in the state that looks out for and shelters children in need. He spoke about his experience with victims and said it is not what every parent wants at the end of the day. He spoke about the readiness of the Foundation to support medically and provide psychosocial support for victims. He also buttressed the point of the Medical Doctor on the Religious aspect of being a Muslim himself that there is no religious obligation to Female Genital Mutilation. 

Recommendation:

There is a need for aggressive awareness in the state concerning Female Genital Mutilation 

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.