Abolition of the Practice of Female Genital Cutting (FGC/M)

Community, LGA, State, Country: Amagu Akegbe-Ugwu, Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria

Thematic Focus of Intervention: Harmful Cultural Practice

Situation Overview

In Amagu Akegbe-Ugwu Community, the practice of Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation (FGC/M), often referred to as “female circumcision,” has been a deeply rooted cultural tradition. This harmful practice was perpetuated by unfounded beliefs that it prevented promiscuity and beautified the female genitalia. The tradition was historically enforced by community elders and traditional birth attendants, as recounted by long-time residents such as Mrs. Gladys Ogbu and Mrs. Pauline Ngene. They shared that while they had their daughters circumcised, they have since learned through sensitization efforts that FGC/M offers no health benefits and is instead a form of violence against women and girls.

WINET’s Intervention

WINET (Women Information Network) spearheaded a campaign involving town hall meetings and dialogues to educate the community on the detrimental effects of FGC/M and its prohibition under the Enugu State VAPP Law 2019 and the Child Rights Law 2016. The community peer facilitators and women, after learning about the adverse impacts and legal prohibitions of FGC/M, lobbied their traditional ruler to abolish the practice. Their efforts culminated in a proclamation on March 9, 2023, by His Royal Highness, Igwe Ignatius Ugwu, supported by the Town Union, banning FGC/M in the community.

Impact and Significance

The formal abolition of FGC/M in Amagu Akegbe-Ugwu, effective from March 9, 2023, marks a significant victory for the community. This change, driven by sustained advocacy and peer education facilitated by WINET, ensures that girls will no longer endure the harmful effects of FGC/M. The community’s collective decision underscores the project’s success in transforming harmful cultural practices and protecting the health and rights of girls. This abolition is a testament to the positive impact of the WVL-Nigeria project, demonstrating that concerted efforts and education can lead to substantial social change. Women in the community now actively monitor to ensure compliance with the new prohibition, safeguarding the future generation from this harmful practice.