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Circumcisers form group to rehabilitate girls

RIFT VALLEY
By Rael Jelimo | May 19th 2015

Nandi, Kenya - A group of elderly women in Nandi has chosen to dedicate their sunset days to reforming girls and women who have been affected by social problems.

Aged between 65 and 72 years old, the 30 members of Tuiyoluk Group may look old and frail. But they command the attention and respect of their listeners as soon as they start to speak.

They were once traditional female circumcisers in Tindiret Constituency but willingly chose to abandon the knife and a tradition they once revered for alternative rites of passage.

They have re-grouped after a 2014 Action Paper research by Maendeleo ya Wanawake and the Nandi County government revealed a 65 per cent school dropout rates in rural Nandi.

"Alternative rites of passage have been commercialised. Nandi girls now lack proper guidance on how to go about life - escalating social problems involving girls and young women,"said Rael Choge, the groups' co-ordinator.

SCHOOL TALKS

Ms Choge cited unchecked teenage sex, child and teenage pregnancies, drugs and alcoholism, school drop outs, abortions, misuse of family planning methods and early marriages as some of the social problems that Nandi has to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Leaving the comfort of their homes and the excuse of old age at bay, the 30 reformed circumcisers trudge all corners of Tinderet visiting girls' secondary and primary schools for talks.

The talks, conducted with permission from the schools management are covered in two hour sessions where girls get to vent their frustrations to the old women and receiving advice.

Besides talking, the reformed circumcisers visit homes of girls who have already been married off and endeavor to bring them back to school.

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