Best Media Practices for FGM and COVID-19 – an emergency response

Between March and October – 2020 the UNFPA/GMC carried out 6 webinars (in both English and French) on the following topics. 

FGM Under COVID-19 Series

These webinars are intended for grassroots campaigners (both veteran and new) that are interested in practical, hands-on, transferable skills and strategies for advocacy and campaigning against FGM on the media.

How To Be a Media Campaigner

Role of Youth in FGM Campaigning

This Webinar was one of the most vibrant. Young people from Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso shared experiences, realities, and practical media engagement advice to new campaigners. On average- 150- 200 people joined via Zoom on both English and French sessions. Total views for French session on Facebook was 172 and 656 views of English speaking session.

Somali Media Masterclass

The Role of Local Radio in Ending FGM

Harnessing  Religious Leaders And The Media to End FGM

How to end the Medicalisation of FGM on the media

In partnership with UNFPA Somalia and Plan International Somalia, a second Media Masterclass for campaigners and journalists was planned hosted by GMC’s Naimah Hassan and leading Somali Campaigner/ medical doctor Dr. Mariam Dahir.

Major steps

In comparison to other webinars done, this media training received the largest views on Facebook with over 26.5K viewers on average watching 1hr of the session. Since this media masterclasses, a total of 272  new media campaigners have joined the GMC media campaign network across Africa.

Progress to date

  • On 29th – 30th September 2020, in partnership with UNFPA Nigeria – a two-day media masterclass took place participated by an average of 100 people on Zoom per day; and viewed by 9600 on Facebook.
  • Of the 202 people that signed up to the media masterclass; 97%  are new to GMC, 34% are campaigners and 47% journalists whom all opted-in to join Nigeria EndFGM Network to be in with a chance to access Direct Action Grants

Topics covered included

  • Day 1: Media Campaign strategies: How to amplify your grassroots on mainstream and Social Media work, and Status of FGM Campaigns Nigeria: A reflection of what is working and what is not, 
  • Day 2: A practical session on how to use Social Media for campaigning, and finally a session on media proposals and report writing 

Positive feedback and appreciation was received from campaigners; particularly to panelists such as award-winning Journalist and Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times Musikilu Mojeed, as well as seeing fellow campaigners like Ayo Bello facilitating sessions (proposal writing and reporting); or sharing how media has transformed her advocacy and campaigning life. 

This Booster academy/ Media Masterclass was originally planned to be carried out in person in Nigeria. Due to the COVID pandemic, the training was done online via Zoom.
The format used included film, presentations, Q&A’s as well as practical sessions with attendees where they were able to vote, and invited to tweet on #MediaToEndFGM which was well received by participants

Sustaining and Maintaining #EndFGM conversations on Media 

Maintaining FGM media output in Somalia, The Gambia, Mali, Kenya, Ethiopia and Guinea.

Progress

  • In quarter 2; through the Direct Action Grants, we funded jingles, radio talk shows, documentaries, and dramas on TV and radios, reaching 25.4 million people in Kenya, Gambia, and Mali to amplify local FGM Campaigns carried out by campaigners and local organisations.     
  • In quarter 3 – we ramped up the grant approvals  and released 47 Direct Action Media Grants to campaigners and organisations estimated to reach over 191 million people in Kenya (9 grants), Ethiopia (7 grants), Somalia (15 grants ), Nigeria (7 grants ) and Guinea (10 grants)
  • We’ve also recruited 270 new campaigners (Guinea [40], Nigeria [180], Somalia [20], Ethiopia [30]) on top of our existing network of 375 campaigners

Case study: Guinea media campaign

In Guinea, the first round of grants was successful for quarter 3 with 10 projects funded across all regions. In partnership with the Inter African Committee, they collaborated with private local radio stations.
The media landscape in Guinea has allowed the grantees to work closely with state-owned rural radios (in Labé, Beyla, Mali, Karouané) and the National Radio RTG at primetime.
Some activities included programs on popular private radio stations of the capital, such as Renaissance FM and Love FM.

Grantees seem more and more involved and are gain confidence in charting their ways. For instance, Aissatou Sinko Diallo, who teaches girls in the Guinean prefecture of Mali, organised, in July, a roundtable discussion on local radio, reaching Guinean, Malian, Senegalese and even Gambian communities.
For the International Day of the Girl, she coordinated a bigger debate between a journalist, a young women’s rights activist and an FGM practitioner. 

We are now adding new people to the Guinea network (traditional communicators, Religious Leaders, Christian activists, young leaders…) which should make the next few rounds even more dynamic and reach wider audiences.

Major steps

We’ve incorporated feedback forms in this webinar and discovered that attendees wanted more field realities about campaigning, fewer speakers, longer sessions and for the webinars to be more participatory by inviting attendees to contribute.
Between July to date, we’ve supported 54 organisations and campaigners with direct action grants to sustain FGM media campaign efforts in Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, The Gambia, Ethiopia, Mali and Guinea.

Since launching FGM Under Covid webinars in May, 500 new campaigners joined GMC’s Facebook and WhatsApp groups.

FGM Under COVID Series – #FGMNotMyReligion – Another interactive inter-faith webinar from Muslim and Christian faiths sharing learning and best practices on the paramount role of religious leaders on the media towards ending FGM. Over 1946 viewers joined Facebook for the English session and around 658 for the French webinar. 

Some of the key outcomes from this webinar include: 

  • FGM is not a religious requirement  albeit intertwined with culture in some communities
  • Seek credible, religious leaders with authority that can delink FGM from religion as part of media campaigns.  
  • Media is a powerful tool if properly used to correct myths and misconceptions between religion and FGM
  • During the COVID_19 pandemic, local TVs and Radios have been the most impactful modes of communication for FGM and COVID campaigns; reaching millions of people with your broadcasts. 
  • Sustained and localised media campaigns are necessary to eradicate FGM. Supporting frontline activists with funding for media campaigns leads to increased community conversations and impact. 
  • Engaging more female religious leaders is important to accelerate change in social norms.