Impact of anti-FGM campaigns felt in schools

Musul Primary School headteacher Anita Lekorere talks to primary and secondary school girls over effects of Female Genital Mutilation at Kimanju in Laikipia North. [Jacinta Mutura, Standard]

Cases of girls dropping out of school have reduced following campaigns against female circumcision.

According to facilitators in peer training for girls in Kimanju village in Laikipia North, young girls and parents are abandoning the practice.

Schools are also recording low drop-out cases.

Agnes Lekorere, the Musul Primary School headteacher, said there was a time her school was the most affected locally in terms of girls dropping out to undergo the cut.

But since the campaigns started, fewer girls are now dropping out.

“A lot of girls dropped from school and ended up being married one year after undergoing the cut,” said Ms Lekorere.

“But these campaigns have helped. For the last four years, less than five girls have dropped out,” she said.

Lekorere was among the facilitators who trained more than 80 girls drawn from primary and secondary schools in Laikipia North.

One-week training

The training lasted a week, and the girls were taught alternative ways of passing into adulthood, other than circumcision.

The trainers, however, complained that even after such training, some parents sneaked their children out and got them circumcised.

Olentile Trust Education Officer Ayub King’ori said young men were frustrating the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) locally by refusing to marry girls who had not undergone the cut.

This, he said, stigmatised the girls, making them feel like outcasts.

According to the trainers, the most ingenious method they have come up with is targeting girls who have undergone the cut innocently, without knowing its effects.

These girls are made ambassadors, telling those yet to be cut the long-term effects of FGM.

Kirimon Division Assistant County Commissioner Paul Mogaya said parents were also being sensitised about effects of FGM, while those who forced their daughters to undergo the cut were arrested.