BAFROW has been carrying out numerous sensitization programs on FGMC throughout the country, after having conducted a needs assessment survey on circumcisers and their communities to find out their needs and develop strategies which could assist them abandon the practices for good.
Based on the outcome of the needs assessment survey, the first few activities conducted included:
- A week-long workshop for 35 former circumcisers and their assistants on the alternative rite of passage ceremony. In addition to leading the new initiation ceremonies, many former circumcisers were trained to serve as health promoters in their villages. With these new roles and responsibilities they have been able to maintain their community status and income.
- Sensitization on the health consequences of FGMC and data gathering techniques for more than 150 community health nurses, state employed nurses and extension workers . They undertook public awareness activities and surveys in their circuit areas, effectively expanding the scope of BAFROW's research efforts.
- Public awareness campaigns, which included poetry competitions and short stories which were compiled into a booklet. The curriculum for the alternative rites of passage, audio and video tapes of dramas and plays, and posters and traditional carvings have all been created and distributed to communities and schools.
BAFROW's FGMC awareness creation campaign has contributed in breaking the silence over the issue, and more people are willing to address the practice disregarding the myths and taboos that surround it.
Nationwide Tour by Members of the Association of circumcisers and Men's Groups
The circumcisers (now community health promoters) and the Men's Groups continue, some of whom have also been trained as health promoters, to sensitize existing circumcisers and their communities about the effects of FGMC.
During the tour, health promoter from the different districts, in 4 Regions, conduct sensitization in the villages, usually visiting these villages several times to make an impact.
The men have also been very instrumental in the sensitization tour. They continue to serve as role models for other men by showing them the practice is undesirable and harmful to the health of women and girls and that they need all the support on that stance.
The teams use their various sensitization materials to discuss the types of FGMC, possible health complications and other important issues. Questions usually range from how FGMC affects menstruation, how a woman can become infertile from it, and similar questions about the female anatomy and bodily functions in relation to the practice. The issue of it being a religious obligation is a topic which usually leads to heated and participatory debates.
Usually. most communities have already been sensitized about FGMC so their reception and understanding was quite impressive. To emphasize this, most of the participants during the latest tour had their young daughters registered on the spot to go through the passage rites ceremony.
Generally, the sensitization tours create an avenue for further and in-depth sensitization, and subsequent training opportunities for villagers. At present, the teams have sensitized a over 360 villages in four Regions.