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FGM is deeply rooted in societal norms and culture

Today, the world marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. 

Last year, I had the privilege to attend The Nairobi Summit on the International Conference on Population Development, where President Uhuru Kenyatta reaffirmed the government’s commitment to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in two years.

As someone who has been working on ending FGM in my community for over a decade, I understand how unrealistic it is to end FGM in two years.

SEE ALSO: Women hail victory as Sudan moves to ban FGM

FGM is deeply rooted in societal norms and culture.

Ending the practice requires an entire shift in perspective and understanding. It is not something that can be solved solely by policy or legislation. 

Although FGM has been outlawed in Kenya for the past nine years, 78 per cent of women in some communities have undergone it.

We need to realise that there is a gap in policy making and policy implementation in this country.

This disconnect stems from the top-down approach we have used over the years. How powerful would it have been for the President to go to Samburu, the county with the highest FGM rates, to launch his commitment to this issue?

SEE ALSO: FGM cases rise as schools remain closed

How about putting together a task force of individuals at the forefront of tackling FGM in the grassroots and letting them share their experience and how best we can end FGM.

How about calling all the men to take the lead in eradicating FGM and changing the face of FGM to be a male issue not a woman issue as it has been portrayed for years.

While the main focus is to protect girls from these harmful traditional practices, boys too are very important in the conversations about FGM. 

Kakenya Ntaiya. The writer is the founder of Kakenya’s Dream.

Female Genital Mutilation FGM FGM ban

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