THE United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) have trained 74 persons as community “champions” for the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (END-FGM).
The training which was held in Njaba Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo included two persons each from the 21 communities of Njaba and the 16 communities of Isu LGA.
Speaking at the event, Mr Vitus Ekeocha, UNICEF, Facilitator for FGM in Imo, said that the trainees were selected after a rigorous process.
He said that the selected persons are reliable, open-minded, willing to support positive change and have a basic knowledge of FGM.
Ekeocha urged them to be part of history by proving to be worthy champions in their various communities.
” We are training 74 persons, 32 persons from Isu LGA and 42 persons from Njaba LGA who will serve as FGM ambassadors and champions in the local communities.
” We have confidence in them because they are well integrated in the communities, well respected, willing to support positive change and prepared to overcome any form of resistance “, he said.
Also speaking, UNICEF programme officer, Mr Chigozie Ojiaku said that the practice of FGM was predominant in rural areas hence the need to eliminate it at the grassroots.
He urged the trainees to implement the lessons learnt at the training and disseminate the campaign to end FGM in their communities as well as refer persons with FGM related cases to authorities of the NOA.
Ojiaku warned that anyone who violated the law would be duly prosecuted and punished as a deterrent to intending perpetrators.
Addressing the trainees, UNICEF focal person for FGM in the Imo ministry of health, Mrs Stella Ukaegbu advised health professionals and traditional agents to resist the pressure to mutilate girls.
She added that the training was aimed at helping communities to be self reliant so as to make it easier to address cases of FGM at the community level.
” You will be our eyes in the communities. We have liaised with traditional rulers and other relevant stakeholders and we hope you will work with them for optimal results “, she said.
Speaking on behalf of the trainees, Mrs Adline Iheme of Ameuju community in Isu LGA thanked the training facilitators and pledged that they would contribute their quota to the fight against FGM by taking the campaign to their various communities.
News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that other persons present at the event were the NOA Director in Imo Mr Nazzy Njoku and other senior staff of the agency in Imo.
– June 15, 2021 @ 17:24 GMT |