Speed up efforts to stop FGM, leaders urged

Girls celebrate after undergoing an alternative right of passage. [Jeckonia Otieno, Standard]
Local and national leaders have been challenged to step up efforts in eradicating female circumcision.

Emily Kanana, a child protection officer with Child Fund Kenya says circumcision of girls is still prevalent in some parts of the country, especially among the Tharaka community of Eastern. 

In December last year, the organisation rescued 122 teenage girls from circumcision in the county by facilitating an alternative rite of passage as part of wider efforts to fight the cultural practice. The alternative rite of passage conducted last December equipped the girls with skills to help them transition into young adults.

The exercise was organised in conjunction with the Department of Children’s Services, the Ministry of Interior, the county and national governments. Beneficiaries were drawn from vulnerable families in communities where FGM is practised. “We have trained champions to advance child protection in the communities to help deal with these issues,” Ms Kanana said.

She said one in 10 girls in Tharaka-Nithi aged between 15 and 19 has undergone the cut while another 14 per cent have either given birth or pregnant.

Abed Rwito, Chief of Kamarandi Location, said four women were jailed in 2018 for abetting FGM. “This has led to reduction of cases but this is a continuous process,” he said.  

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Child Fund KenyaTharaka NithiFGM