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FGM: UNFPA, CIRDDOC engages Ebonyi communities in dialogue

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The Civil Resource Development and Documentation Center (CIRDDOC) Nigeria, with support from United Nations Population Fund UNFPA, last Friday, organised a community dialogue on the abandonment of female genital mutilation for communities in Ebonyi local government area of Ebonyi state.

Over 11 communities and their traditional rulers in the area participated in the community dialogue which started on Wednesday through Friday May 7, 2021.

The communities include, Nkeleke Echara Unuhu, Agalagu, Ndebo Ishieke, Echara Ndibo, Mbeke Ishieke, Onuenyim Ishieke, Ndiagu Ishieke, Ndiagu Izzi Ishieke, Oguzoronwya, Nkaleke Echara Ndiagu, Nkaleke Echara. 

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Onyinye Okah, Secretary CIRDDOC, Nigeria while addressing the community members, urged them to remain the advocates of violence against women and girls in their area.

CIRDDOC explained that the organisation does not force people to abandon the female genital mutilation.

CIRDDOC said that community dialogue became necessary after a survey was carried out by UNICEF and UNFPA and that it was revealed that the FGM prevalence rate was high in four local government areas of the state.

“We are here to engage community members, to have community dialogue on FGM abandonment. A research was carried out by UNICEF and UNFPA on the prevalence rate of FGM in Ebonyi state and the result shows that the prevalence rate of FGM was high in four local government areas of Ebonyi, Ohaukwu, Afikpo North and Ikwo.

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We worked in Ikwo last year and because of the intervention all the communities in Ikwo have declared the abandonment of FGM and we want the same thing to happen in Ebonyi. 

We don’t force the people to abandon FGM. We carry out series of interventions, the type we have started in various local government areas.

Okah noted that, with the support from UNFPA, awareness from CIRDDOC the rate has reduced, adding that “The essence of the dialogue is for people from both old and new generation, youth and the aged women and men to come together and suggest solution to ensure that FGM is eradicated in these various communities.” 

A resource person, Mrs. Joy Eze, in her presentation said while FGM was observed in the past as culture, the health implication was enormous and, therefore, the people had to stop it.

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She explained other cultural practices which are not harmful to the health of the people, especially women should be promoted but harmful cultures should be abolished.

She noted that FGM complications could lead to poverty as any man whose wife had complications during child birth as a result of FGM, the money which should have been used to train their children in the school will be used to take care of hospital bills, hence poverty.

She advised the participants to remain the advocate of #Endfgm in their various communities.

A participant in the dialogue, Nicodemus Olebe, from Nduofia Nkeleke, said FGM made life difficult for women and so planned to spread the lesson he learnt especially on the use of Vaseline, powder to press down the clitoris of a girl child which is relatively high among young nursing mothers.

By Ruth Oginyi

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