By Olatunde Ajayi
Trailblazer Initiative Nigeria (TBI), a non-governmental organisation, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria has started training some youth activists to end rising cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three-day training was to strengthen the youth participation in policy advocacy.
The training also involves reporting on the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation(FGM), Gender Based Violence(GBV), violence against women and children as well as child marriage.
The Executive Director, TBI, Mr Dare Adaramoye, said that the pilot phase of the project, funded by UNICEF, would be implemented in three Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Oyo State due to high prevalence of FGM in the selected locations.
According to him, the LGAs selected include Ibarapa East, Ibarapa North and Kajola LGAs of Oyo State.
Adaramoye, the UNICEF facilitator, said that the selected youths from the LGAs were identified during community mapping and because of their previous efforts in making changes in their localities.
He also said that the youth would be adequately trained on policy advocacy and reporting.
“FGM brings complications such as intense pain, excessive bleeding, urinary inconvenience, difficulties during menstruation, clitoral neuroma and difficulties during sexual intercourse and childbirth, among others.
“We noticed that the state has many policies on FGM and other GBV, kept on the shelves, while many people are not aware of as their rights.
“We are engaging youths from different communities because of the peculiarities of each community.
“So, the youths residing in these communities would be trained to advocate for the policy makers, traditional leaders, religious leaders and other decisions maker in their localities on issues that concern FGM and other forms of GBV.
“They will also be documenting stories of change because we need to monitor events and see the effectiveness of UNICEF programmes in the state.
“This is to bring it to the awareness of the public, for people to know the changes, challenges, the lessons learned and the way forward,” he said.
Adaramoye noted that the 10 youths activists were picked from the three LGAs; including one participant from state level for the pilot phase of the project with the aim of extension to other LGAs of the state in subsequent phases.
He urged people to always speak up and report whenever they noticed cases of FGM around them to build safer society for every girl child in the state.
Commenting, Mr Lateef Ariori, Director Child, Welfare Oyo State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social inclusion, said that FGM was still on rise in the state.
He attributed the rise to issues such as traditional and religious beliefs as well as monetary gains of local circumcisers who sees FGM as their daily business.
Ariori said that State Ministry of Women Affairs, in collaboration with UNICEF and TBI, would continue to organise sensitisation programmes with relevant stakeholders such as legal practitioners, security agencies and religious bodies among others.
He urged the selected youth activists to put in their best to the project to achieve the set goal of thw society; with no cases of FGM and other forms of gender-based violence.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa