The International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting is a global event commemorated annually on the 6th of February to promote the elimination of the harmful practice of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting which is a violation of the rights and integrity of women and girls.
The theme for this year is: ‘Her Voice, Her Future’ in cognizance of the voices and actions of survivors and the transformative power of the voices of girls and women.
FGM/C causes severe and lasting physical, psychological and sexual harm to girls and women, it also affects the social and economic development of individuals, communities and societies, it reinforces gender inequality and discrimination, and limits girls’ and women’s opportunities.
According to the UN, More than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting. This year, nearly 4.4 million girls will be at risk of this harmful practice. This equates to more than 12,000 cases every day.
Youth Network for Community and Sustainable Development (YNCSD) is a youth-led organization that works to end all forms of harmful traditional practices, including FGM/C in Nigeria. YNCSD engages young people and amplifies their voices to speak for human rights, through targeted advocacy to key players, capacity building and development, communications and media engagements, partnerships and program implementation.
YNCSD is at the forefront of campaigns to end FGM/C with various projects that target different aspects of this harmful practice. One of them is the REIGNITE Project funded by the Wallace Global Fund. This project supports a new generation of youth activists against FGM/C, leveraging our Youth End-FGM network of over 300 young people all over Nigeria to raise awareness and demand change.
With the support of Roddenberry Foundation , members of the Network are trained on Social Change Communication and Digital Advocacy, both of which are skills needed to advocate for their rights and engage policymakers in fostering sustained change in ending FGM/C.. Finally, the FREE Fund project empowers girls and women by giving them skill-building opportunities to earn income, support their livelihoods, and abandon FGM/C practices. Ultimately, when “career cutters” are empowered with alternative skill areas they can pick up other vocations not related to cutting.
In commemoration of the International Day for Zero Tolerance of FGM/C, we call on the government, CSOs, NGOs and other institutions to pledge to work together to create spaces where women and girls can exercise their agency and choice, and enjoy full access to health, education and safety. This can be achieved by investing in initiatives led by FGM/C survivors who are challenging harmful social and gender norms. Their voices and actions can bring about social and gender norm transformation, enabling girls and women to realise their rights and potential in health and education.
FGM/C is a harmful practice that must end. It violates the rights and health of girls and women and hinders the achievement of sustainable development. At YNCSD, we will continue to engage systems, institutions, communities and individuals to #EndFGM.
Communications and Advocacy Officer | Youth Network for Community and Sustainable Development | Tel:+234 (0)7061469504 Mobile: +234(0)8136277456| url: www.yncsd.org |