Campaign against female cut gears up in Mandera

Women in Mandera county have committed to ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) terming the cultural practice as retrogressive.

The women vowed to fully involve initiatives that will end the practice.

They made the commitment during a conference on Monday to mark International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Led by Mandera First Lady Madina Alio, the women promised to support efforts by county and national governments to help stamp out the retrogressive culture noting that local communities would benefit once the practice is eliminated.

Alio warned that stern action will be taken against individuals who cross over from Somalia and Ethiopia to engage in the practice.

"There have been claims that young girls cross the borders to engage in the cut thus hampering efforts to discontinue the outlawed cultural practice in the area," noted Alio.

Alio noted that elders and women have the power to influence the community to abandon harmful traditional practices including early marriages.

"I am sure the women leaders can agree to dialogue with men in finding solutions to ending FGM, and negative cultural practices and influence," she said adding that elders are the custodians and gatekeepers of culture.

The First Lady noted that local-led initiatives through dialogue by elders and community leaders are the best approach to fighting the practice, which is rampant despite the existence of anti-FGM laws.

Mohamed Mahat, field coordinator for Action Against Hunger said as an organization, they will engage the community through dialogue in educating residents about the physical, emotional and financial damage of FGM, early marriages and premature childbearing.

"We need a collective responsibility and mobilized funds to move around to sensitize the community against FGM. Women are the main perpetrators of FGM which they do secretly. We shall make this triangular border a zero FGM zone in a few years to come,'' he said.