A non-governmental organisation, the Girl Generation, has launched the National Anti Female Genital Mutilation Youth Network in Nigeria to help tackle the menace.
No fewer than 19 million girls undergo Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, in Nigeria yearly, arising principally from deeply rooted cultural practices across the federation.
Speaking at the official launch of the initiative, Kelechukwu Nwachukwu Lucky, the programme officer of the organisation in Nigeria, explained that a desk study conducted in the country gave rise to the initiative aimed at curtailing the practice.
The Girl Generation is a social change communication initiative providing a global platform for galvanising, catalysing and amplifying the Africa-led movement to end FGM, and also inspire organisations and individuals, including youth across the most affected communities in Africa, to end FGM in one generation.
“It is not in the news; it is a deeply rooted cultural practice. So we now feel that there is power in the young people to end FGM. We feel that they hold the key. If the circle is broken once, it is broken forever. They will say no, my daughter will not undergo such practice and it will end. In November last year, we gathered these youths and formed a network to help end FGM in Nigeria,” he informed.
Lucky said the project, which is funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development, DFID, decided to comprehensively integrate youths into the framework, not just as future parents but leaders of tomorrow who are now gradually becoming aware of their respective roles as drivers of social and economic change, as well as the need for them to change negative practices that have far-reaching consequences.
In his speech, Dr. Christopher Ugboko, the head of Gender, Adolescent and Elderly Division of the Federal Ministry of Health who also represented the Minister of Health, pointed out that the vision of the ministry was to see that FGM was eroded wherever it is practised.
Ugboko also maintained that the effort, which cut across his ministry, youth organisations, civil society organisations, as well as other critical stakeholders, had been galvanised to ensure that the collaboration reversed the trend.
He also said the country’s strategy would help to address the issue.
Meanwhile, the director of Family Health in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi said the collaboration was aimed at charting the general direction for strengthening Nigeria’s national campaign against the menace through sharing of social change communication strategies (2015-2020) of the girl generation.
“The national prevalence rate for FGM is 30 percent, according to the 2013 national demographic and health survey. This launch therefore is an important step towards the elimination of FGM given the fact that the youths are valuable agents of change and their involvement will go a long way in achieving the great target. It is our hope that today’s event will significantly count markedly in bringing the prevalence to zero,” she stressed.
Our correspondent understands that efforts by the Ministry of Health to end the practice include development of a reviewed policy, commencement of the second phase of the global efforts against FGM, the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015, and support to states through intensive advocacy in Abia, Delta, Edo, Kwara and the Federal Capital Territory.
Highlights of the occasion included induction of Abimbola Aladejare, Chiamaka Uzomba and Raymond Ukwa as ambassadors for the project, and were charged to use their energy, skills, talents and contacts as well as the in-house training to eliminate the practice where it is found in the country.

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