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Value Female Network partners UNICEF on dangers of FGM, child marriage

The Children’s Fund, in collaboration with a non-governmental organization, Value Female Network (VFN) and the Ministry of Women, Children & Social Affairs in Osun State have sensitised about 600 children in the state to dangers of female genital mutilation and child marriage.

The organisations asked children to report violators of their fundamental human rights to agents for arrest and prosecution, stressing that they should not keep quiet in the face of harmful practices, especially FGM.

UNICEF gathered about 600 children for a concert at Freedom Park, Osogbo, to celebrate and enlighten them on the harmful practices in commemoration of the International Day of the African Child.

Addressing the children, UNICEF FGM consultant for Southwest,  Aderonke Olutayo, sensitised them on harmful practices they need to speak out against. She said Female Genital Mutilation, child marriage and trafficking among others are violation of their rights and that they should be aware and voice out against them by reporting perpetrators to the police, traditional rulers or religious leaders in their communities.

Speaking on the essence of the concert, Olutayo said: “We celebrate Osun children and make them feel relaxed, play games and enjoy themselves. Afterwards, we let them know some traditional harmful practices and how they can be protected from them.

“There is a lot of creation among children and they know they can actually go to school and become doctors, nurses, engineers and other things they want to be rather than being on the streets and hawking. Through our interventions, many children now know some traditional harmful practices and how they can avoid them by speaking out against any violation of their rights either Female Genital Mutilation, child marriage, or somebody is putting pressure on them to take alcohol or any kind of drugs. There is a lot of awareness going on and the impacts are being felt.

“For instance, Osun State had highest FGM prevalence rate of 77 percent according to National Demographic Health Survey in 2003 but because of the interventions and awareness creation  by UNICEF and other organisations, Osun State is now 4th position with 46.5 percent, this is significant. We informed the children to report any violation to the police, traditional rulers or religious leaders because these are the people we have trained to handle these cases.”

Also speaking, the FGM Coordinator in the Osun State Ministry of Health,  Toyin Adelowokan, advised parents to give their children sex education and avail them to their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Executive Director of VFN, Dr Costly Aderibigbe, urged the participants to be advocates against harmful practices, especially Female Genital Mutilation which is prevalent in the state (46.5% NDHS, 2018) adding that they should not allow anyone to trample on their rights.

She said: “One of the highlights of the programme was that children took out time to stamp out FGM in Osun State and they learned their voice to the campaign against Female Genital Mutilation in Osun State by printing against FGM with their hands.

“Another highlight is that Woli Agba was decorated with a badge that signifies his commitment to the movement for eradication of FGM in Nigeria. This movement aims to recruit five million people in Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Ebonyi and Imo and that makes one million per state. These five million people will form a group of ambassadors against FGM and they would make pledge and commit to ending FGM in Nigeria.

“Woli Agba joined the movement and was decorated before the children and onlookers and older adults who were present at the event,” Aderibigbe added.

 

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EYES ON TRAFFICKING

This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original online location.

ABOUT PBJ LEARNING

PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials online course is used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to potential victims. Learn on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

More stories like this can be found in your PBJ Learning Knowledge Vault.