Anti-FGM teams in Kenya and Uganda concerned over high cases

FGM paraphernalia. [Lucy Murunga, Standard]

A cross-border anti-female genital mutilation network has said widespread cross-border procedures are being carried out in grazing fields along the Kenya-Uganda border.

Kasitot, Kamnai, Karagum, Lorukum, Lochorchori and Mbolongole, Kalapata, Nasal, Nauyapong, Lokiterangan villages in Alale ward that borders Uganda and Amudat, Nakonyen, Omanman river in Uganda are among the grazing lands where cases are rampant along the border.

According to World Vision Kenya, Alale anti-FGM project officer David Krop, many girls between the ages of 10 and 15 are being cut.

"There has been a surge in FGM and forced child marriage cases. As they graze cattle, they also cut their girls. We started Alale anti-FGM project early this year after residents raised the issue," he said.

Alale said the cuts take place during harvest season starting from September to December holidays.

"Many girls run to Uganda for the cut. They have changed the game plan and do it secretly without community members knowing," he said.

Alale added that they have established a strong surveillance team that will create referral pathways for how cases can be reported and handled. According to Moses Loroki, an anti-FGM focal person from Moroto, Uganda, the cases have been rampant for the last five years.

"Many girls from Amudat, Moroto and Sebei region cross to some areas in Kenya for the cut. In 2019, we created a cross-border forum to deal with cross-border FGM. Our Kenyan counterparts rescued six girls from Loroo after being cut in Nasal and taken to Kalas girls in Amudat District," he said.

Loroki said the government and NGOs operating in the region will roll out training for social workers, chiefs and local leaders in Moroto next month to improve surveillance. Stephan Atupa, Local Council 5 woman representative for Tapat sub-county in Moroto district, Uganda, said FGM cases are still rampant and called for more collaborative efforts.

She said in October, 40 girls in Kenya and Uganda were cut at Nakonyen area in Moroto from Tepes, Karamojong and Pokot communities.

"The cutters were from Uganda. One was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison. The Matheniko community has also adapted to the culture and started cutting girls, yet they were not doing it," she said.