Access Bank, HACEY Health Initiative Team Up to Curb Female Genital Mutilation

As part of one its initiatives of supporting women, Access Bank PLC has partnered with HACEY Health Initiative to commemorate this year’a International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The programme was held across  high prevalence zones and about 1,240 individuals  benefited from the education in Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Ebonyi.

Specifically, eight schools — two schools from each of the four states — were targeted, leading to 1,068 students being impacted by the  campaign.

As a result, nine religious centres — three in Osun State and two religious centres each from Oyo, Ekiti and Ebonyi — were reached.

These efforts have contributed to the fight against FGM in Africa. However, the war is far from over. Findings by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), most women in several African countries — including Egypt, Somalia, Gambia and Sierra Leone — believe the practice should be upheld. Therefore, as a global community, we need to amplify efforts to  eradicate the practice of FGM.

As the world continues to celebrate women this month, Access Bank’s W Initiative, through the platform of its forthcoming conference, would continue its charge to challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias, and foster women inclusion, the bank said.

In addition, the conference will provide a platform for women and their male counterparts to learn from vibrant thought leaders about the role we must play towards achieving gender parity by #Embracing Equity from a personal, sectorial and industry-led perspective.

Globally, “minority” groups have suffered some of the greatest inhumane treatments in history. From racism to colourism and sexism, these acts have adversely and irreversibly affected millions of people across the world.

Of those minorities, women have suffered many iterations of cruelty, and female genital mutilation (FGM) may be said to be the cruelest.

This ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia is considered a violation of human rights against children as it is mainly performed on girls between infancy and 15 years of age.

FGM has risked the lives of over 200 million young women in 30 countries of Africa, according to WHO reports, and Nigeria alone accounts for 10 per cent of global cases. The report identifies Osun state as having the highest prevalence of circumcised women in the country (77 per cent), closely followed by Ebonyi (74 per cent) and Ekiti (72 per cent).

This practice has, over time, been seen to have far-reaching, almost absolute and fatal consequences. These consequences range from complications in childbirth to hemorrhage and death.

Cumulatively, over 2,000 young girls, CBOs, traditional rulers and policymakers participated and benefitted from the programmes in the three states. In addition, about 500,000 Nigerians were reached virtually with information, education and communication materials.

Furthermore, to ensure impactful and scalable results, traditional leaders, government and community leaders were engaged in dialogue sessions to advocate for the abandonment of FGM practices in their various communities.

Tags : Access BankFGMHACEY Health InitiativeInternational Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation
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