Ending FGM requires constant engagement with community members and other stakeholders aimed at changing community attitude and perception over a period of time. Simply put it’s a gradual process and consistency is key. As they say constant banging wears the rock, but what happens if you bang once and disappear?
This is not an attack on any one particular organization but should be taken as an important piece of advice on how we can improve the fight against FGM and other harmful cultural practices. In recent days there has been an increase in what I call ‘Cosmetic’ events aimed at taking selfies and showcasing how hard we are working on the ground. Who’s fooling who? A one off event can only best serve to spark a discussion among community members on the topic of FGM and if there is no follow up with similar engagements the good intention is lost and it becomes a waste of resources.
In my view unless it’s a training for professionals there should be no funding made to organizations targeting indigenous community members that does not sustain activities for at least three months. This excludes one off events like marking international days and other celebrations or any other event that can be categorized as such. Other than carry 100 ‘Cosmetic’ events across a country that will have little or minimal effect I urge the donors and other partners to consolidate their resources and focus on timely, sustainable and life changing interventions.
I am not begging anyone to agree with me but ‘cosmetic’ events will only do more harm than good in the long run. Community members will get used to it as a routine and it will be very difficult to carry out meaningful engagements in the near future. Who is going to bring sanity and honesty in this whole mess? It begins with the donors there is no need to fund 100 one off events spread across different regions that are just ‘cosmetic’, think about consolidating the funds and funding fewer organizations but for a longer period of time. Don’t bite more than you can swallow!
To the activists and ground troops let’s give feedback to the donors and policy makers on how we can better implement our work and activities. This will be killing three birds with one stone, the donors will better their policies on interventions, our work will be made easier and more fruitful and the community members will experience the desired change.
@TonyMwebia one Penny advice!!!