Editorial: FAWE blundered, but it can always make up

Some organisations are very poor at damage control especially in this age of social media, where a small misstep is shared widely in a very short time.

One organization that learned this the hard way was FAWE which is still trying to come to terms with its communication debacle that painted it in a bad light.

Its attempt to portray itself as a moral champion backfired in its face and FAWE instead came out as an insensitive bully, more occupied in shoring up its image than having the interests of the girl-child at heart.

What triggered the backlash were internal rules for the organisation’s scholarship beneficiaries; any girl who falls pregnant while still under FAWE’s tutelage will see her scholarship terminated.

No sooner had that statement hit the streets than all hell broke loose. FAWE received flak from every direction. It had shown the deepest kind of bigotry without first understanding the causal effects.

While it is the normal thing to prevent unwanted pregnancies, in normal cases they are not intentional and are caused by a myriad of things; poverty, ignorance or teenage fragility that can be easily swayed.

A young girl that has had the misfortune of falling pregnant needs much support as she is at the most vulnerable stage. The first thing she doesn’t want is to be abandoned as FAWE envisaged.

FAWE is now on the defensive, trying to backtrack using some very ill-advised damage control tactics. The best they can do is swallow humble pie, come forward and apologise and openly say terminating scholarships is not their policy, and if possible, elaborate how they will accompany misfortunate young girls. 

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