GOOD WILL MESSAGE DELIVERED BY MRS TOSIN APIRIOLA-AJAYI AT THE TOWNHALL MEETING WITH THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, DAME PAULINE K. TALLEN HELD ON MONDAY 14TH DECEMBER, 2020 AT THE BANQUET HALL, ILORIN, KWARA STATE.

Protocols,

I am delighted to offer this goodwill message on behalf of my organisation: Women Environment and Youth Development Initiative-WOYODEV, and other organisations championing the End-Female Genital Mutilation/ Circumcision(#EndFGM/C) initiative in Kwara State.

In 2016, during a discuss among some women in my organisation, the topic Female Genital Circumcision/ Mutilation, FGM/C cropped up. The discussion delved into the reality of the high rate of FGM/C in our society. We conducted a baseline study.

The survey revealed FGM/C is highly under-reported in Kwara State due to cultural background and socio-religious atmosphere, which has hampered nipping it in the bud.

The prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting in Kwara stands at 65.3% (Nigerian Demographic Health survey 2013). According to our baseline study, atleast 8 out of 10 women and female youth reached have gone through FGM/C. Also, we observed low capacity and knowledge on the spate of FGM/C among NGOs in Kwara.

Between then and now, we have made efforts to reach communities with information on EndFGM, worked in alliance with partners and organisations for sustained awareness and also conducted Technical Session for State and Non-State Actors (including NGOs, FBOs, CBOs) amongst others.

Speaking at this epoch event as an FGM Champion/Ambassador is a welcome development on the realization of the fact that we need to continue to form partnership and solidarity to EndFGM in our communities in Nigeria. The honour goes to the communities within Kwara where their leaders came out openly to denounce the practice. The credit is to the women and the team who championed awareness through various means (media, townhall meetings etc). We need to keep amplifying their voices!

We thank the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline K. Tallen for honouring us with her presence in Kwara State, indeed it is an August Visitor in December season.

The effort of the Kwara State Government led by His Excellency Governor Abdulraham Abdulrasaq (@realaarahman) on the giant strides taken to ensure all forms of violence against Women and Girls are eradicated with the recent signing of the State VAPP Law and, ofcourse the untiring hard work of the Kwara State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development led by our amiable Honourable Commissioner, Mrs Abosede Aremu and the indefatigable Permanent Secretary, Hajia Afusat Ibrahim and all Directors for championing this cause together with all changemakers across the 16LGAs of Kwara State will go down well in history.

Let us note that we are not there yet, as more efforts needs to be put in to ensure total eradication of FGM/C in our society, this should include the full implementation of the VAPP Law, this is the only way our future generations will remember us for good!

Long live Kwara State!

Long live Nigeria!

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