Every February 6, the world marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, FGM.
As with many traditional practices, FGM is carried out by communities as a cultural practice and is often associated with ethnic identity. FGM is a contributor to the high morbidity and mortality rate among women and young girls in Africa.
Breakfast Central’s Olisa Chukwumah and Tolulope Adeleru- Balogun spoke with Selina Nkoile who is with the Network for Adolescent Youth of Africa where she is a Girls Rights Champion.
Selina expressed that in her community it is more than just a cut it is a celebration, rite of passage that marks the graduation of a female from girlhood to womanhood, it is a significant stage in the community that involves the elders and blessings from their fathers.
She also highlighted that the implications of the cut of FGM on these girls are but not limited to; dropping out of school, child marriages, teenage pregnancies, health complications, and also death from bleeding during the process.
She urged international agencies and financial agencies to find their way down to the grassroots as it would really help the situation.
International collaborations, Nkoile added, should have and involve community leaders at the heart of their planning because these community leaders are the best people to make recommendations and they are the ones that know how to end this issue. If this is not done there won’t be a significant change.