Devatop Centre for African Development, DCAD, a Non-Governmental, not for profit organization, has received a $9,600 grant to intensify its advocacy for an end to female genital mutilation, FGM, in Nigeria.
Executive Director of the organization, Joseph Osuigwe, said the grant came from “The Girl Generation”, an Africa-led global collective of members and partners brought together by a shared vision that FGM can – and must – end in this generation.
Osuigwe, citing figures from the United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, stated that Nigeria has the highest absolute number of female genital mutilation, as about 20 million women and girls in Nigeria have undergone female genital mutilation.
According to statistics, Imo state, in South East Nigeria, is among the states with high prevalence of FGM, and there have been incidences of the practice in Okigwe Zone, where the project for which the grant was given is focusing.
“If nothing is done to end FGM, more women and girls could be victims of this barbaric practice,” Osuigwe said in a statement released on Monday in Abuja.
“No single person can end FGM, hence the need to raise advocates who will be actively involved in fostering community actions against this abuse” he added.
He explained that the grant will enable DCAD to execute a six-month advocacy project in the Okigwe Zone of Imo State.
The project, termed “End FGM Advocacy” is an innovative approach to foster community awareness and action by training youth, educators, health workers, survivors and women as advocates and engaging them and other relevant stakeholders to advocate for the eradication of FGM in all the six (6) local government areas of Okigwe Zone, Osuigwe explained.
“It will promote societal dialogue and the empowerment of communities to act collectively to end the practice, and stimulate community/traditional rulers, women, youth and decision makers to play strategic roles in eliminating FGM with sense of urgency.”
The project intends to involve traditional rulers, religious leaders, youth, grassroots networks and those who have suffered from FGM to start speaking out and be at the forefront of eliminating the practice which the UN has designated as an abuse to the girl-child.
“After the training the 100 advocates who will be selected across several sections of the society, including youths, survivors, civil society organizations, religious members, health care providers, NYSC members, and community volunteers, they will be given the necessary resources to carry out step-down activities in their various communities.
In all, the project is expected to have meaningful impact on over 20, 000 people in Okigwe and beyond.
Osuigwe noted that his organization, Devatop Centre for Africa Development also focuses on combating human trafficking and other human rights abuses, as well as providing educational supports to vulnerable children and girls.
“Overtime, Devatop has impacted over 5000 people through training, advocacy and empowerment projects, and 400,000 people through media and community outreaches,” he said.