Our vision and mission
Cesved, the Centre for Social Value and Early Childhood, is a non-profit organisation based in Suleja, Nigeria, run by Gift and Abu Augustine. It has been created with the vision of a just and peaceful society where all lives are respected regardless of cultural and traditional beliefs.
Cesved supports and empowers women to fight practices like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Breast Ironing, which leave young girls in horrific pain, unable to develop naturally and at risk of losing their lives. The organisation trains community volunteers so they can educate men and women on the dangers and injustices of these practices. This one-on-one approach is unique and has been very successful. Countless girls and women have been saved from these terrible and traumatic experiences.
Gift is ambassador of Nigeria as part of the End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign. In this role, she attended the US Summit on Female Genital Mutilation at the United States Institute of Peace in September 2016. Here she talks about how using the media has influenced and increased the impact of her work:
End Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Female Genital Mutilation comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers. Health care providers sometimes agree to carry out female circumcision in the belief that they are reducing the risk to the child, but overlooking the fact that they are colluding with and encouraging an inhumane practice.
More information about Female Genital Mutilation can be found in a recent Blog post.
Combat Breast Ironing
Breast Ironing is the pounding and massaging of a pubescent girl's breasts, using hard or heated objects, to try to make them disappear or stop developing. Breast Ironing is typically carried out by mothers to protect their daughters from sexual harassment and rape, to prevent early pregnancy that would tarnish the family name, or to allow the girl to pursue education rather than being forced into early marriage.
Eradicate Bereavement Practices
In many rural areas in Nigeria one ritual is still being practised whereby a widow is forced to drink the water used to clean her husband's corpse, possibly exposing her to deadly infection. If a widow refuses, it is interpreted that she is responsible for his death. Often, the family of the deceased initiates the ritual. The consequences for refusing to participate in the ritual greatly depend on whether the widow has her own family on her side to protect her from harm.
Cesved aims to reduce and, where possible, put an end to the following practices and injustices:
• Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
• Breast Ironing
• Bereavement practices
• Domestic violence
• Denying girls access to school
• Infant defloration
Find out more
Cesved is supported by:
Project Our Heroes is initiated by Projects For All, a non-profit UK/US organisation with the mission to empower communities facing human rights challenges by providing life-changing support and partnership, guided by respect, trust and community ownership. Paying the Heroes a basic salary, the programme ensures security, stability and critical support to the most committed and best-positioned change makers in communities. Gift Augustine is supported by Our Heroes since 2014.
The Women of the Year Foundation has provided two years of Gift Augustine's salary which enables her to focus full-time on ending Female Genital Mutilation and Breast Ironing. Without this support, Gift would not have been able to save so many lives.
The Guardian's Global media campaign against Female Genital Mutilation uses the tools of modern day communication to end this harmful practise by making new partnerships across Africa with prominent media groups. The international reputation of the Guardian will help open doors for all those who can change minds and educate.
Change.org is the world's largest petition platform that provides the tools to start, join, and win campaigns for change. Change.org participated in the Guardian Global Media Academy in May 2016, and helped the participants in setting up their own petitions. Cesved is currently running a petition "Vote in the law to end FGM in Cross River State" on change.org.
This website has been made possible with the kind support of Genevieve Tarboton.