Story By Akinola Emmanuel
Oyo State Government, in collaboration with HACEY Health Initiative, on Monday, began a 3-day capacity building workshop for stakeholders on how to sensitize people against the Female Genital Mutilation in all the nooks and crannies of the State.
While speaking on the workshop held at SDM Tarvern event center, Agodi, Ibadan, the Executive Secretary, Oyo State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Muideen Olatunji, said the workshop was aimed at increasing the knowledge of members of Ministries, Departments and Agencies on understanding policies against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and advocating against the practice.
He said: “What we are seeing here today involves many other stakeholders, and in life, you cannot give what you don’t have. So, if you are not well informed, there is no way you can do the cycle of campaign against female genital mutilation. This is like the first step towards reaching out to many other people to key into the campaign and help reverse the trend of female genital mutilation.
“This kind of capacity building is to inform those stakeholders to increase their own knowledge on the consequences and what we are talking about when we talk about female genital mutilation. And from there now, we can now scale up and other people can get informed. So, this is a way of spreading the gospel and making sure that many stakeholders that have a role they are possibly going to play are well keyed into the campaign against female genital mutilation.”
He further explained that the State Government will continue to sensitize the general public on the consequences and the danger inherent in the female genital mutilation, urging the traditional circumcisers to desist from this ungodly practice.
“Well it is simple. We will continue to drum it into their hearing the negative impact of female genital cutting, the danger attached to it, the mothers and the children that will suffer the consequences. Also, the father that will bear the consequences of losing a child even at child birth. Nobody wants to raise a child and lose that child prematurely. So, when they see this danger and we drum it into their hearing, we believe they will be convinced and everybody will change the narrative.”
“We are trying to get it across to many people across local government areas, as many LCDA as possible. We want to get close to the grassroots and from there, people can build the culture. Not only that, even among the younger ones themselves, we try to educate them so that when they become mothers, they already know and they will reverse the trend”, He added.
Earlier, Executive Director of HACEY Health Initiative, Rhoda Robinson said that the workshop was organized to educate the stakeholders on how to participate in the crusade on the need to end Female Genital Mutilation in the State, saying that the risks and consequences associated with it are too numerous and grievous.
She equally maintained that the major focus of the stopcut project, which is being funded by United Nations Trust Fund, was to end violence against women and to ensure existing policies in the state are effectively being implemented to women and their wards from FGM.
Robinson further stated that the project will also increase the report of FGM at community level so that “it will reduce the prevalence in the state and educate more people on the need to end FGM because of the various risks and consequences associated with it as a practice.”
She explained that the similar workshop was going on in another two States, which includes Osun and Ekiti States, in order to keep the citizens and residents of the State abreast of the danger embedded in the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
“Today, we are organising the first of the series capacity building session across the three states in south west, Nigeria (Oyo, Osun and Ekiti) towards building the capacities of stakeholders in ending FGM in the states”, she explained.
She therefore appreciated the Oyo State Government for supporting the HACEY Health Initiative to find lasting solution to the Female Genital Mutilation in the State.
“So far, we have gotten immense support from states’ ministries, department and agencies. We have had partnerships of organizations and institutions that are jointly working towards ending FGM in the states. This activity serves as foundation of building more capacities that can join the fighting to end FGM within the different communities that FGM still exists in our societies today”, She concluded.