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The aim of this research is to determine why media campaigns against female genital mutilation (FGM) in Agenebode, headquarter of Etsako East Local Government Area, are not making positive impact on her indigenes, because the practice is very rampant in the locality. This study, however, still relies on the premise that media campaign is an essential tool for correcting or eliminating a social ill.
A questionnaire was therefore designed and administered in the locality to determine the cause of the persistence of the F.G.M practice. The major reason deduced, amongst many, is that Etsako people in this community are resistant to change due to their strong believe in tradition.
This study therefore recommends that government authorities and NGOs should adopt a new formula in their campaigns against FGM practice. Secondly, media campaigns should include puritive consequences against any known FGM perpetrators in their campaign content.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The mass media plays an important role in the society by entertaining, enlightening and educating citizenry. The media usually comes in between creation and distribution reflecting the use of the term medium to describe the means of passing mass information to the audience. According to Steinberg (1972) the media includes
Radio, television and wire services,
National magazines, motion picture
(film) and to some extents books. (B).
Mass media campaigns therefore remain an important strategy for health promotion, social orientation and disease preventions since 1940s. Yet, considerable debate surround the effectiveness of those campaigns that take the form of series of television and radio public service announcement (PSAS) with collation of print materials such as posters, booklets, brochures, handbills, leaflets and billboard displays.
Non governmental organization (NGOS) are often involved as intermediaries to help disseminate the message of the campaigns. In Nigeria, mass media campaigns have been conducted on topics covering general health issues like immunization, birth control, cancer control, mental health, lung disease and HIV/AIDS e.t.c.
In recent years female circumcision here is after referred to as female Genital mutilation (FGM) is of course one of the age long trado cultural practices that have drawn the attention of government and non-governmental organizations in many countries of the world. FGM recognized by many as an issue of medical, social and legal practice has a long and complex history. At present F.G.M remains common in many cultures in Africa and the middle East, varying in forms and severity as a result of each group’s socio cultural norms and belief systems.
It can have severe medical and psychological consequences for the girl child and woman on whom it is performed. As the World Health Organization (WHO) 2002 has stated,
Changes in individual behaviour
World seem to require both the
Provision of accurate information
and the reduction of mis information. (27).
In this regard, enormous amount of money has been spent on campaigns intended to discourage the practice as well as educate the populace on the inherent damage the practice has on the female child. People receive a number of influences as a result of their exposure to the media and differ in their receptivity to these influences.
However the essence of this study is to among other things ascertain the level of effectiveness of the various mass media campaigns on awareness, knowledge, attitude and the desired behavioural change. Moreover, the study will also find out the people’s perception towards media campaign messages in Agenebode.
1.2 SCOPE OF STUDY
The focus of this study is an assessment of media campaigns against Female genital mutilation (FGM) in Agenebode, the headquarter of Etsako East local Government Area of Edo State. The choice of Agenebode is motivated by the fact that FGM practice in Agenebode is still very rampant inspite of several media campaigns against the practice which are broadcast on state, and federal governments owned electronic media as well as privately owned media stations, all signals of which are received in Agenebode. There is also the presence of the print media in Agenebode because there are major Nigerian dailies that cannot be bought in various News paper stands in the local government headquarter.
This study therefore believes that the persistence of FGM practice in Agenebode is not because there are not enough media campaigns against it but that the Etsako people in this community are resistant to change due to their strong belief in tradition. There may be need for government authorities and NGOs to adopt a new formula in their campaigns against FGM practice. First of all, media campaigns should include puritive consequences against any known FGM perpetrators in their campaign content. Secondly, government authorities and NGOs should sponsor a lot of persistent outdoor activities against FGM practice in schools, market places and in churches and mosques. These should include drama sketches and open air propaganda. Any recently known FGM practitioner should be prosecuted and sentenced in order to deter others from the practice.
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Over the century, thousands of mass media campaigns have disseminated messages about dozens of different health topics to the Nigerian public. Government and health associations have sought to educate and persuade the public to adopt healthy practice or to avoid behaviour that pose a risk to health such as female genital mutilation (FGM) through frequent and prominent placement of paid health messages in the mass media.
However, despite the high resources committed to this course, there is still a prevalence of these unhealthy practices. The effectiveness of these mass media campaigns is then questioned. Despite the heavy flow of multimedia messages they have produced almost no sign or evidence in knowledge gained and effective desire to change or modify undesirable behavioural, attitudinal lifestyles. This pessimistic outlook might be as a result of the target public high resistant to mediated messages, apathy, attitudinal defensiveness and cognitive ineptness.
This study however, will seek to fill this knowledge gap specifically in Agenebode, Etsako East Local government area of Edo State.
1.4 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study, is to investigate the effectiveness of mass media campaign interventions in influencing public behaviour. The essence however, is to establish direct links between mass media campaign interventions and subsequent public awareness, knowledge, attitude and behavioural change against FGM in Agenebode, Etsako East local Government Area of Edo State.
1.5 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Based on the general background and purpose, the research focuses on the following specific objectives
i. To find out the effectiveness of mass media campaign in generating awareness and knowledge on the harmful effects of FGM
ii. To find out the degree to which the various campaigns have led to change in behaviour and attitude.
iii. To find out which mass media (Electronic or Print) has the greatest influence on the campaign influence on the campaign against FGM in Agenebode, Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State.
iv. To ascertain the perception of the people towards mass media campaign messages in Agenebode.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
No doubt, mass media campaign plays an influential role in many societies. Therefore understanding and ascertaining their level of effectiveness in generating awareness, knowledge and sensitization leading to desired behavioural change is imperative. Considering the huge amount spent on mass media campaigns interventions, the findings of this study will help government and non-government organization (NGOs) set priorities, re-strategize and deploy resources wisely to the specific mass media or mediums that will be effective in achieving their goals.
Moreso, the findings will also be beneficial to advertising agencies and media firms in policy and strategies formulation. The research hopes to contribute immensely to existing pool of knowledge on mass media campaigns strategies and effectiveness in Nigeria. Finally, it will serve as a useful reference to future researchers.
1.7 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The target population of this study will consist of students in secondary and tertiary institutions, market men and women who have lock up shops in Agenebode local market and local government council employees. The sample of the study shall consist of 40 men and women who have lock up shops, 20 members of staff of Etsako East local Government council, 40 students in secondary and tertiary institutions will constitute the third sample group. The sample population will therefore amount to 100.
A survey method of gathering data will be used in the study. A sample questionnaire will be drawn and administered. The data gathered will be analysed using simple percentage and descriptive method.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Library resources and other information on this topic were relatively old and obsolete. Time and financial constraints also greatly slowed down the process of gathering information. Most on-line sources of information required financial subscriptions. Time was insufficient due to pressure from other academic activities.
The above limitations not withstanding, this researcher was not deterred by these challenges but worked tirelessly to meet her objectives in order to produce a reliable study.
1.9 DEFINITION OF OPERATIONAL TERMS
Mass media is a channel of communication, for example, television, radio through which messages flow and are produced by a few for consumption by many people. Units of communication, television, radio station, newspapers and magazines Ogbiten B.O (2008).
Any deliberate effort planned and directed towards identified audience purposely to sensitize and influence (shape or reshape) their attitude and behaviour concerning a thing (Ogbiten, 2008).
MASS MEDIA CAMPAIGN
In this research work mass media campaign refers to a deliberate, designed and planned means and series of information and communication activities through the media to a large number of audiences with a set purpose of influencing their ideas, behaviour and knowledge, e.t.c.
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