According to UNICEF, at least 200 million girls and women alive today in 30 countries have undergone female genital mutilation or FGM. With an estimated 19.9 million survivors, Nigeria has the highest number of women and girls who have undergone FGM globally.
FGM is all partial or total procedures involving the removal of the female external genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
While much efforts have been made to eradicate the age-long cultural practice, little has been done to provide opportunities for FGM survivors to access quality healthcare service, especially as many continue to endure complications due to the cut.
But Onelife Initiative for Human Development, an Ibadan-based nonprofit committed to improving the wellbeing of young people in Nigeria, hopes to fill this gap. The charity partnered with Osun State-based Highway Laparoscopy Hospital and Fertility Center to offer free consultation and referral services to FGM survivors in Nigeria.
“One repeated question we have always had when we go into communities in urban and rural centres or when on the radio is: ‘what do I do now that I know I have been cut?'” Sola Fagorusi, the Executive Director of Onelife Initiative. “We have often simply directed our audience to visit a hospital for a medical check-up to determine the extent of the cut and to take advantage of professional medical consultation. Our listeners never do so for varied understandable reasons, and that was why we came up with this idea.”
To reach out to more people, the nonprofit placed jingles on radio and adverts on social media to allow survivors of FGM to gain access to healthcare services. This is in addition to training radio journalists from 19 out of Nigeria’s 36 states on how to produce content, supporting the fight against the harmful traditional practice.