The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with a non-governmental organization, Value Female Network (VFN) and the Osun State Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, educated approximately 600 children in the state on the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage.
The organizations urged children to report perpetrators of violations of their basic human rights to law enforcement officials for arrest and prosecution, stressing that they should not remain silent in the face of harmful practices, especially female genital mutilation.
UNICEF South West FGM Consultant, Ms Aderonke Olutayo, who spoke to children in Freedom Park, Osogbo to celebrate and enlighten them about the harmful practices in commemoration of the International Day of the African Child, made them aware of the harmful practices they must denounce.
She said that FGM, child marriage and trafficking among others are violations of their rights and they should speak out against them by reporting the perpetrators to the police, traditional leaders or religious leaders in their communities.
“We celebrate the children of Osun and make them feel relaxed, play games and have fun. Then we tell them about some harmful traditional practices and how they can protect themselves.
“There’s a lot of awareness among the kids and they know they can actually go to school and become doctors, nurses, engineers and whatever they want to be rather than being on the streets peddling. Thanks to our interventions, many children now know about certain harmful traditional practices and how they can avoid them by denouncing any violation of their rights,” she said.
Also speaking, Osun State Ministry of Health FGM Coordinator Ms. Toyin Adelowokan advised parents to give their children sex education and make them enjoy their health and rights sexual and reproductive.
Likewise, the Executive Director of VFN, Dr. Costly Aderibigbe, urged participants to stand up for harmful practices, especially FGM, which are prevalent in the state, adding that they should not allow anyone to trample on their rights. .