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End FGM activists run 88 women-led local media campaigns combatting lockdown cutting

Largely funded by UNFPA, they reached over 133 million people in July and August alone

“Now the schools have closed for the summer. It is happening everywhere, all over Sierra Leone,” said veteran women’s rights campaigner, Rugiatu Tureh. Watch the film above to see what community activists achieved on the media in Sierra Leone. with emergency Covid-19 funding from the Olwyn Foundation

Activists were at work in 7 countries over this summer: Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Ethiopia, Mali, and Guinea. Here’s a snapshot of what UNFPA/GMC majorly-funded community-based activists do to end FGM using media to share the hard facts on FGM.

Kenya
14 media campaigns 
7 million TV views and radio listens 

 

As university students Sarah Gati and Catherine Marwa spoke on Radio Togotane 88.3FM  running the “Education over Mutilation” media campaign, vibrant campaigner, Sadia Hussein did a three-month Summer Media Campaign to End FGM.

In Kuria, Migori County, a thirteen-year-old girl phoned during the show saying the two students had inspired her to resist the cut and pursue her education. The show has a listenership of more than 800,000 people in Kenya and Tanzania. This summer’s UNFPA/GMC media campaigns identified the 22 FGM hotspot counties in Kenya.

See what we are doing in Kenya here.

Nigeria
13 media campaigns
110 million TV views and radio listens

 

The Tera show hosts campaigner Aderomose Lois Tofunmi on Television Katampe about her comic book for children on ending FGM in Abuja, Nigeria. The channel covers five states in Nigeria and has 6 million-plus viewers. 

The message: “Culture is not static, but constantly changing just as knowledge keeps growing.” Adermose now plans to finish her comic book that, she believes, will give girls the power to say NO to FGM despite being stigmatized as being “afraid of pain”  

Read more about campaigners ending FGM in Nigeria here.

Somalia
6 media campaigns 
3.5 million TV views and radio listens

 Ifrah Ahmad and Mohamed Abukar, media producer and presenter on Somali National Radio and TV talking about the recent death of Fartun Hassan Ahmad and urging parents to stop cutting girls.

Fartun Hassan Ahmad bled to death from FGM in Galmudug in July. Twenty other girls were reported to have been mutilated in the nearby village of Jeerinle in the same week. 9/10 of women and girls are cut in Somalia.  

Read more about our media campaigners’ work in Somalia here

Sierra Leone
32 media campaigns 
3.5 million TV views and radio listens

Activists joined Alpha B. Y. Kamara, Rev. Finoh, Nega Solleh, and Haja Komba
on SLBC radio in Kono. In Sierra Leone, the Olwyn Foundation and the Soroptimists stepped in with extra support for the emergency post-lock-down campaigns.
In the first joint national media campaign venture in all sixteen Districts of Sierra Leone, unique anti-FGM songs were composed and performed in local dialects.

Campaigner Rugiatu Turay from Koidu, Kono district shared. “The message in the songs we are creating is about respecting our culture and human rights at the same time.”

Read more from the media activists on how they run their campaigns in Sierra Leone here

Ethiopia
4 media campaigns: 
15 million TV views and radio listens

Sheikh Nur Khalif Sheikh Bashir broadcasting to 15 million people on Somali TV, talking about the completion of the draft fatwa highlighting the religious leaders growing opposition to FGM. 

On August, 28 as part of the campaign to end the surge in summer cutting we saw the largest ever consultative gathering of Religious leaders and regional government officials in the Somali region, who reaffirmed their commitment towards zero tolerance on all forms of FGM which was broadcast to 15 million people on Universal TV, Horn Cable TV, Kalsan and Saab TV.

Irish Aid and UNFPA have been supporting movements to work with religious leaders on the media in the Somali region for over a year. 

The Irish Ambassador to Ethiopia, Nicola Brennan, confirmed Ireland's commitment to working with a range of stakeholders at federal, regional and community levels to end harmful practices and congratulated the Ifrah Foundation, GMC and stakeholders in the Afar and Somali regions for their leadership and initiative on the religious leaders FGM media campaign.
Read more about the fatwa campaign and see what campaigners on the media are up to in Ethiopia.

Mali
9 media campaigns 
3 million TV views and radio listens

Local government officials, Mamou Bamba (Pelengana), Djeliko Sacko (Ségou), and Bourama Coulibaly (Sébougou) commit to ending FGM publically live on Foko radio listened to by around twenty-five thousand people across the region of Ségou, where FGM prevalence rates are over 91%.

In total, media activists generation over 20 hours of anti-FGM messaging on national TV and radio - in a country where, until 18 months ago, even religious leaders dared not speak out against FGM on national TV.
For more local media campaign reports on their bespoke media strategies, click here.

Guinea
10 media campaigns: 
1.3 million TV views and radio listens

Above: Hassatou Lamarana Bah producing her new show on Kaniazik FM.

La Plus Jeune des Radios hosted religious leader El hadj Ousmane Yabara Camara who told listeners to stop cutting girls. "FGM is not linked to religion and is practiced outside of Islam. Some people have been practicing it simply because they saw their parents doing it, but it is not religious," he said.

This message reached over 10,000 people across the region of Kindia and was amplified on social media and feminist online news platforms such as Actualité Féminine and Les Amazones de la Presse Guinéenne.

See some of the work our campaigners have been doing in Guinea.

And in other news 

UNFPA/GMC ran a masterclass working with men and boys, led by longtime Kenyan activist, Tony Mwebia- bringing in some of the world's most influential male anti-FGM campaigners together to network and learn from each other. Over 200 activists most of them male, took part, creating a movement among men campaigning against FGM from Mali to Somalia.



 

And finally, watch out in next month’s newsletter for a sneak preview of the UNFPA/GMC Media Masterclasses and Tech Hub series for local Women-Led Community Organisations to end FGM and also unleash their local knowledge and media know-how for other gender campaigns such a child marriage and violence against women.

The above stories are just highlights of some of the 88 women-led media campaigns run by campaigners in the last 8 weeks in Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somali, Ethiopia, Mali, and Guinea over the last eight weeks, with thanks to UNFPA, Plan International, The Soroptimists, and the Olwyn Foundation.

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