On International Youth Day, 12 August 2018, thousands of individuals, groups and organisations have shared pledges to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on social media, in the hopes of shattering the silence that surrounds the practice.
The campaign organised by The Girl Generation (TGG), has been gaining momentum since its launch on 23 July 2018. It has already reached more than 3.6 million people on social media using the hashtags #YouthEndFGM and #ihavespoken. An estimated 120,000 people have read about the campaign on major news websites across Africa with a combined online readership of 18.2 million. Many more will see the campaign as it makes headlines in print newspapers across countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, The Gambia and South Africa.
Considering the fact that the campaign initially set out to spark one million conversations on social media about FGM, this is a great accomplishment for young people who are affected by the practice.
Dr Faith Mwangi-Powell, Global Director of TGG feels proud about the progress made thus far. “It’s amazing to see how quickly this campaign has taken off and I am so proud to see so many young people leading the charge. “There is real momentum behind this campaign and it shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.”
On the day, young FGM activists were able to celebrate their roles as change-makers in social issues that affect them, hoping to seize the opportunity to amplify their calls to their peers, parents and leaders to speak out on the issue.
“I will create safe spaces and build the capacity of young girls and women to be change-makers as well as engage young men to end FGM”, pledged twenty-five year-old activist, Natalie Tingo.
What makes the campaign such a success is its integrative approach that includes the voices of the youth, organisations, entertainers, and influential leaders. Kenyan musician and activist, Suzanna Owiyo, is a well-known individual voicing out her stance about FGM by using social media. Suzanna stated the importance of protecting the rights of young girls on her social media account.
Suzanna stated “I believe in a just society that protects the rights of young girls. I will raise my voice to end FGM. Will you?”
— Suzanna OWIYO – OGW (@SuzannaOwiyo) August 8, 2018
To continue the fight against FGM, we need to break the silence that surrounds it. Take part in the conversation by using the hashtags #YouthEndFGM and #ihavespoken on social media.