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GPI TAKES CAMPAIGN TO SCHOOLS

Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI) Asaba held a school intervention in Emede community Isoko South L.G.A. The programme was held in Emede Grammer School Isoko South L.G.A.

The objectives of the programme are:

  • to create awareness on the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) law and to
  • ensure that target communities participate actively in FGM prevention and eradication campaign.

The activity was combined with GPI Asaba school outreach programme. It provided an avenue for GPI staffs, resource persons, teachers and students to interact. The programme created a safe space were young girls asked questions on issues that affect their sexual and reproductive health (unintended pregnancy, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, sexual violence) and all forms of gender based violence particularly Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Pat Akah Head of programmes GPI Asaba gave an overview of some key topics covered in the comprehensive sexuality education curriculum: assertiveness and self asurance, self esteem, body image, values clarification, human rights, sexual violence and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). She encouraged students to be assertive and comfortable with their bodies. They were told that they had a right to sexuality education and to live healthy lives free from sexual violence and all forms of abuse. GPI Asaba provides a safe space were girls can learn and be counseled in a non-judgmental way.

According to the program officer Alex Okwor Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) violates the fundamental human rights of young girls and women.  It is a form of violence against women and girls, with physical and psychological consequences.

The mental and psychological agony attached with FGM is deemed the most serious complication because the problem does not manifest outwardly for help to be offered. He said that there is a law that prohibits Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Delta State. The FGM law was passed on 10th April 2001 under the James Ibori led government and states that it is an offence to circumcise or mutilate the genital organ of any female.

A resource person from Isoko Kingdom Rev Okriko traced the history of FGM. According to him it is celebrated and was necessary for proper marriage prior to the End FGM campaign. He said that FGM leads to various forms of sexual dysfunction and has no health benefits. The Reverend told the students that they were privileged to benefit from such an intervention as he had no such opportunity in his time.

Uncle Ken the contact teacher from Emede grammar school also addressed the students encouraging them to feel free to ask questions and learn. There was an interactive session and students were asked to share their taught on how FGM can be stopped in their community.  42.4% said FGM can be stopped through use of mass media/creating awareness and sexuality education, 27.3% suggested use of sanctions to stop FGM, 30.3% provided wrong answers/were indifferent. It was resolved from the evaluation that local sanctions should be put in place and more sexuality education and awareness campaigns should be done in the community to stop FGM and other forms of violence.

The phone numbers of GPI help lines were given out to students who can report cases of abuse and get immediate attention.

The students were sensitized on the FGM law and simplified copies of the FGM law was distributed to the participants.

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