Chiefs cite obstacles to anti-FGM drive

By Robert Kiplagat

Baringo, Kenya: Chiefs in areas prone to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Baringo County have cited lack of funds and ignorance on child rights as the main obstacles in the fight against the vice.

Thirty-three chiefs from Nginyang divison in East Pokot who met area sub-county commissioner Daniel Kirui called for constant advocacy against FGM by NGOs and the Government.

According to the reports from the chiefs, more girls under the age of 15 underwent FGM last December.

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Director of Women Rights Institute for Peace Mariam Suleiman said most chiefs in the region lacked basic understanding of Children’s Act leading to rampant cases of FGM in their areas.

She said the challenge facing the fight against the vice was the failure by the chiefs to implement the Children’s Act, adding that in the areas where cases of FGM were still rampant, churches were also not available thus lacking empowerment.

Apart from East Pokot, other areas such as Loboi, Nyimbei and Arabal in Marigat District had school-going children and even young wives undergoing the cut.

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Last year, more than 150 girls from pastoral communities in Marigat shunned FGM and opted for alternative rite of passage.

The girls from Endorois, Pokot and Ilchamus communities underwent the alternative rite of passage during the December holidays.

“Such events show that communities have started embracing modernity and girl-child rights. These girls will now pursue their studies and reduce school drop-out rate, which was there before due to early marriages,” Baringo County Women Representative Grace Kiptui said.

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Female Genital Mutilation FGM culture