UNICEF sensitises Osun children on dangers of FGM, early marriage
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with a non-governmental organisation, Value Female Network (VFN) and the Ministry of Women, Children & Social Affairs in Osun State, has sensitised about 600 children in the state on the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage.
The organisations urged children to report violators of their fundamental human rights to law enforcement agents for arrest and prosecution, stressing that they should not keep quiet in the face of harmful practices, especially FGM.
UNICEF FGM Consultant for South-West, Mrs. Aderonke Olutayo, who spoke while addressing the children at Freedom Park, Osogbo, to celebrate and enlighten them on the harmful practices in commemoration of the International Day of The African Child, sensitised them on harmful practices they need to speak out against.
She said FGM, child marriage and trafficking, among others, are violations of their rights and they should voice out against them by reporting perpetrators to the police, traditional rulers or religious leaders in their communities.
“We celebrate Osun children and make them feel relaxed, play games and enjoy themselves. Afterwards, we let them know some traditional harmful practices and how they can be protected from them.
“There is a lot of awareness creation among children and they know they can actually go to school and become doctors, nurses, engineers and others they want to be rather than being on the streets hawking. Through our interventions, many children now know some traditional harmful practices and how they can avoid them by speaking out against any violation of their rights,” she said.
Also speaking, the FGM Co-ordinator in the Osun State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Toyin Adelowokan, advised parents to give their children sex education and avail them of their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Similarly, Executive Director of VFN, Dr. Costly Aderibigbe, urged the participants to be advocates against harmful practices, especially FGM, which is prevalent in the state, adding that they should not allow anyone to trample on their rights.