Your name/ name of organization: Onyinyechi Mbam-Ikokwu, Community Officer with the Youth Network for Cummunity and Sustainable Development
Where are you based? Ebonyi State
Summary: Talk about your passion to end FGM/C in your community.
Few years back I almost lost a dear friend to excessive bleeding following female genital mutilation. This experience left me thinking about millions of women and girls who are constantly at risk of female genital Mutilation or are leaving with health CONSEQUENCIES of this practice. This made me to resolve on joining the advocacy to EndFGM especially in my dear Ebonyi state which happened to have high prevalence of FGM as at that time.
How as it been combining medicine and advocacy?
It’s been super wonderful, really a challenging one but God helped me through it all. There are days I had to miss several lectures or academic activity just to attend one conference or training or development works within the communities.
One thing that stood out for me was that after each program of work in the community I feel so fulfilled and closer to dreams than I would feel when I attend lectures. Don’t get me wrong, I loved studying medicine but I didn’t anticipate it to be stretching for so mannnnnnny years.
I practically wrote resit exams from 3rd year till the final year but through it all I think I can say I became stronger, more resolved to pursue my passion of increased acess to quality healthand Education for all children.
Combining medicine and advocacy has also connected me with so many great minds that I am so grateful for.
What Problems would say are mitigating against the end of FGM/C
There are so many problems mitigating against end of FGM one of which is the Patriachy society. The ignorance of its dangers on the part of the people as well as strong inclinations to age long traditions
What Solution/ Actions should we be looking to adopt: Increased advocacy/awareness campaigns, religious leaders joining the advocacy, Political leaders making and enforcing laws to endfgm
Share some Lessons you’ve learnt so far as a major advocate to end FGM/C
When people adopt a norm as a social norm it takes so much work to change that norm and if this norm must be changed, the same people have to come to a place of knowledge where they understand the detriment of these norms untill then these norms will not change.
Every one has a role to play in ending the practice of FGM no matter your status in the society. Every voice counts.