UNFPA YPP Digital skills training: How girls resolved to end FGM in Osun

For the over 200 girls trained by the United Nations Population Fund Youth Participatory Platform (UNFPA YPP), Lagos, it is high time the deadly practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is fought and abandoned in the prevalent communities of Osun state.
This resolve was made after a 2-day Digital Skills Training on how to end FGM in Osun state. These participants, drawn from twenty communities in the state, had converged at Aurora Conference Centre in Osogbo and were trained on how to use digital skills and social media platforms to advocate against the illegal act.
The female participants who brought their Android phones to the workshop expressed readiness to implement all that they were taught in their various communities with the optimism that FGM would soon be abandoned in the state through vigorous advocacies on the internet.
UNFPA YPP, in partnership with a Non Governmental Organisation, Value Female Network (VFN) had selected female students of Secondary Schools and tertiary institutions in Osun state who have Android phones and also use social media for the 2 day training which was held at Aurora Conference Centre in Osogbo between November 1 and 2, 2019.
The participants that were drawn from twenty communities in Osun were taken through theoretical and practical trainings on how to make use of FGM Apps and the social media to advocate against the deadly practice and also sensitise stakeholders in their communities to abandon the practice of cutting girls.
The Coordinator of UNFPA YPP, Lagos, Elizabeth Talatu, while addressing the participants on Community/Youth Involvement in the abandonment of FGM stressed the need for community leaders to get involve in efforts at ending FGM.
Talatu charged the participants to change agents in their communities and ensure that through the use of digital platforms and the social media, FMG activities and perpetrators are exposed.
She called on the young female students to always report attempts by anyone to mutilate them and violate their rights to Civil Society Organisations and the Police adding that there are law as that frown against FGM in Nigeria.
Talatu therefore called governments, security agencies and the judiciary to ensure the domestication of laws against FGM in States in order for culprits to be prosecuted.
“UNFPA YPP, Lagos has organised this two-day training for girls in Osun communities to train them on how to make use of digital platforms and social media handles to champion the abandonment of FGM. We expect these participants to return to their communities and start creating awareness on social media and also reporting any violence against them,” Talatu said.
Also addressing the participants, a member of UNFPA YPP,  Blessing Tashi explained that FGM is harms girls and leaves them traumatised without health benefits. She called for its abandonment and also called on health workers and female cutters to desist from the act.
According to her, the training would help build the digital capacities of the pupils in order to create behavioural change among their peers and adults through the use of the various social media platforms.
She expressed optimism that the training would fast track a rapid reduction of FGM prevalence in Osun.
 
Speaking, Aderibigbe Costly,  a member of UNFPA YPP and the Executive Director of VFN that hosted the training, said there was the need to employ the use of digital to combat the spread of FGM to get the desired results. 
She said that exposing the pupils to information on FGM and the mastery of the usage of the several digital tools would go a long way to address the scourge.
She said, “we decided to come to Osun to train these over 200 female students because Osun state is among states where FGM is common.
“We want to build an army of girls who would use their digital skills to help eradicate the scourge.
“The world is now a global village and we want them to use the skills acquired from here to reach out to their peers, talk to people in their communities with the usage of digital skills. You can imagine the rate at which the message will be spread. We are also looking at their generations ending FGM.
“It is better if  the young people are talking about ending FGM because it is affecting them the more. They have information to rescue others and raise alarm when there is any suspected case,” Aderibigbe said.
 
 
 
of the Governor, State of Osun, Mrs Kafayat Oyetola has warned health workers and other citizens practicing female genital mutilation (FGM) to desist from the act.

The Governor’s wife stated this on Friday during a two-day advocacy skill training program for girls on the abandonment of FGM, organised by a youth-led NGO, Value Female Network in Osogbo

 
 Oyetola, represented by the Governor’s Special Adviser on Public Health, Pharmacist Olasiji Olamiju, said FGM is the most barbaric form of killing and harming girls/women, leaving them psychological traumatised.

“FGM is an abuse against the girl child and women hence the need for it’s abandonment in all parts of the State.”

“Scientifically, it has been proven that there is no advantage attached to that process. It is a harmful practice that all of us must rise up to condemn in its entirety.”

“The state government under the leadership of Governor Gboyega Oyetola has always been in the forefront against such practices and we are ready to collaborate with Value Female Network in the abandonment. But this is a collective effort, we need to take the awareness and training round the state, which I believe will go a long way in ending this public health menace,” Olamiju explained.

She however urged wives of government officials to champion campaigns for the complete abandonment of the practice in their communities.

“Let me also use this opportunity to call on wives of all government officials and those in government, to use their privileged positions, to be vocal on the need to end FGM in thier various communities and to take actions that would enable this happen,” she added.

Aderibigbe Costly,  a member of the United Nations Population Funds Youth Participatory Platform and the executive director of Value Female Network said there was the need to employ the use of digital to combat the spread of FGM to get the desired results.
She said that exposing the pupils to information on FGM and the mastery of the usage of the several digital tools would go a long way to address the scourge.
She said, ” We decided to come to osun to train this pupils because osun state is among the state where FGM is common.
“We want to build an army of girls Who would use their digital skills to help eradicate the scourge.
“The world is changing into a global world we want them to use the skills acquired from here to reach out to their peers , talk to people in their communities with the usage of digital you can imagine the rate at which the message will be spread. We are also looking at their generations ending FGM.
It is better if  the young people are talking about because it is affecting them the more. They have information to rescue others and raise alarm when there is any suspected case
speaking at the workshop,  the state commissioner for youths and sports,  Engr Yemi Lawal said the state has doubled it effort to completely eradicate FGM in the state.
Represented by his personal assistant, Olaide  Mustapha stressed that the state was open to collaboration that would bring an end to the prevalence of female cutting in the state.
The founder and team leader of the NGO, Dr Costly Aderibigbe, in her opening remark explained that FGM has no known health benefits and those who perform it are violating girls and women’s right to life and health. Saying, Osun compared to state in the South-West has a higher prevalence of FGM.

“In the South-West, Osun has 76% prevalence of FGM compared to other states, as a result of social cultural factors in the state and it has to do with the belief that it helps to prevent promiscuity among young girls.”

The about 200 young girls here will be taught how to develop applications that they will use to address the FGM menace and at the end of the training we expect them to have become advocates against the practice in their various communities,” Dr Costly remarked.

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Ekene Agbor

I am a journalist, a media consultant, a gender parity and innovation advocate, a grammarian, and a professional MC.

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