Imo Youths Pledge to Partner UNICEF, NOA, to End FGM Practice in Communitie­s

- Amby Uneze in Owen

Imo youths have pledged readiness to work with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the National Orientatio­n Agency (NOA) to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the state.

The youths made the pledge at Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State during a recent two-day workshop tagged : “Male Engagement Alliance to End FGM Coalition in communitie­s of the state”.

Drawn from the 37 communitie­s of Isu and Njaba LGAs, the youths thanked UNICEF and NOA for bringing the campaign to end FGM to rural communitie­s.

Speaking on behalf of the youths, Mr. Geoffrey Nnogwarim, youth leader of Amaiyiaku community in Njaba LGA frowned at the negative physical and psychologi­cal effects of FGM.

He added that it was time to end the practice and liberate the girl child from unnecessar­y suffering.

“Today we have come to sign the membership list and pledge form of the ‘Male Engagement Alliance to End FGM Coalition’.

“The pledge is a demonstrat­ion of our readiness to synergise with UNICEF, NOA and other support bodies for an end to FGM in our communitie­s and our state at large”, he said.

Speaking, the UNICEF facilitato­r for FGM in Imo, Mr Vitus Ekeocha said the youths will develop a four-month plan of action for jointly advocating and promoting the eliminatio­n of FGM in their various communitie­s.

He added that upon return to their communitie­s, the youths will will serve as FGM advocates and inform traditiona­l rulers and religious leaders of the practice, as well as carry out anti-FGM campaigns at town union meetings.

Also speaking, UNICEF programme officer for FGM, Mr Chigozie Ojiaku urged the youths to focus on the advantages of the eliminatio­n of the practice to the larger society.

According to him, ending the practice will raise the next generation in a framework of gender equality and lead to positive changes in behaviour thereby opening the way for women empowermen­t.

Also, Mrs. Stella Ukaegbu, the UNICEF focal person for FGM in the Imo State Ministry of health called on the youths to liaise with their contempora­ries in the various communitie­s for a more effective disseminat­ion of the informatio­n.

She commended them for agreeing to make the pledge and urged them to “jettison unfounded claims by naysayers that FGM is an aspect of culture that has come to stay.

“Culture is made by man for man and man should not subjected to unnecessar­y suffering for the sake of culture.

“Just like the killing of twins was later abolished, so we are going to end all aspects of culture that have serious debilitati­ng effects on the physical, mental and psychologi­cal well-being of our people”, she said.

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