Inspired by the burden that millions of women and children bear every day from female genital mutilation. we Walk for Zero Tolerance for FGM to raise awareness of the global FGM crisis and need to stop in order to save lives.
International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is a United Nations-sponsored annual awareness day that takes place on February 6 as part of the UN’s efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation or cutting. It was first introduced in 2003.
On Thursday and Friday 06 February 2020; Teennation – the independent international organization committed to promoting the inclusion of teenagers in Africa took to the street with 10000 Students from Secondary schools in Nigeria to walk in solidarity to #ZeroToleranceToFGM
The practice was mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. Increased prevalence in medicalized FGM obscures global progress on eliminating support for the practice. Twice as many women in high-prevalence countries want the practice to end compared to 20 years ago
In many settings, health care providers perform FGM due to the belief that the procedure is safer when medicalized. WHO strongly urges health care providers not to perform FGM.
Addressing Teachers, Parents, and staff of Public schools in Akwa Ibom State, Mmanti Umoh the Executive Director of Teennation shared that
FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.
The growth in the medicalization of FGM stems from a misguided belief that the dangers of FGM are medical, rather than a fundamental violation of a girl’s rights. Medicalizing the practice of FGM does not eliminate the danger it poses to women as it still removes and damages healthy and normal tissue and interferes with the natural functions of a girl’s body.
The dangers of medicalized FGM were highlighted in the high-profile death of a 12-year-old girl in Egypt last month, prompting international outrage and condemnation by the United Nations and the Egyptian government. Egypt banned the practice in 2008 and increased the penalty for the practice as recently as 2016.
“Adolescent girls have more power than older women to oppose the practice, according to the analysis. So, on February 06, Teennation in solidarity with the United Nations – empowered 10000 young adolescent girls and boys – to have a say and be heard around Nigeria with relevant information, education to oppose FGM.
“FGM is more than a medical issue, it strips away the human rights of girls and young women to lead healthy and empowered lives in control of their own bodies, and as active members in society. FGM is rooted in gender inequalities, and the first step in ending it is in providing the first victims adequate information to stand against it, speak up about it and changing people’s minds” said Mmanti. “There is huge resistance, however with this has come lower numbers of reports”.
Female genital mutilation endangers the health of women and girls and can lead to long-term physical, psychological and social consequences. ~ Inimfon Ekpuk-Nkop the Project Manager, Gender. Image. Rights. Learning. (GIRL) While the prevalence of FGM worldwide is down from three decades ago, at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM in the 31 countries with available data, and 68 million girls are at risk by 2030. In 2020 alone, over 4 million girls around the world are at risk of being cut.
“I had absolutely no idea how close this problem had been, this project is an eye-opener” Damilola Joshua – President of Dala Foundation and Teennation-Benue Project Lead.
In conclusion, Mmanti promised Stakeholders that “As we work with schools, families and education boards, we reiterate our strong and unwavering support for local, national and international efforts to combat female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C). We welcome the growing number of African countries and states upholding laws that criminalize FGM/C”.
“Though Nigeria has no requisite data to help assuage this pain against children and adolescents, We continue to work with interagency partners to implement the female genital mutilation or cutting outreach strategy. We also will continue to identify opportunities to end FGM/C in Africa.”