A Drive to alternative Rites of Passage to FGM

By Orenge Wycliff

Kisii county Member of Parliament Hon. Dorice Donya Aburi during the Anti-FGM Seminar at Nduru Girls. Photo. Orenge Wycliff

The Gusii community has begun adopting an Alternative Rite of Passage (ARP) as an alternative to female genital mutilation (FGM).

Kisii county Member of Parliament Hon. Dorice Donya Aburi has rolled out a campaign focused on ways and Means to end Female Genital Mutilation in the region. Speaking during the launch of the Anti-FGM campaign held at Nduru Girls secondary school in South Mugirango Constituency, Hon. Donya said that there is need to have our girls educated on the dangers of early pregnancies.

“We are here today to educate these girls on the dangers of early pregnancies and Gender based Violence (GBV).”

Dorice Donya Aburi- Kisii county Woman Member of Parliament. 21st August 2023.

Hon. Dorice Donya Aburi explained that the war against the FGM has been a problem in the region because many male leaders have not taken it to their hearts to wage the war against FGM.

Listed among the derailing causes of the slowed end to FGM, she noted that the people in the region stooped visiting the traditional cutter into hospitals “Medicalization of FGM” whereby the medics advice that since it is done by the doctors, the girls wont die for going through the rite.

“The rate of FGM is high in Kisii county because it has been Medicalized.”

she said.

Donya mentioned that the ARP will take place twice a year in August and December, coinciding with the “cutting season” when schools are closed and FGM often occurs.

The girls who attended the anti-FGM seminar at Nduru Girls Keenly listening to the speakers. Photo | Orenge Wycliff

“We do not want to subject our young girls on traditional harmful practices, we must fight for their rights,” she said.

During the training sessions, girls will learn about the harmful effects of FGM, teenage pregnancy, and gender-based violence.

In Kisii County

The focus will encompass understanding what FGM is, its dangers, reasons to avoid it, and discussions about education, child rights, sexual abuse, substance abuse, self-esteem, health, culture, and traditions.

Reformed traditional cutters, health practitioners, psychiatrists, and mentors are participating to educate girls about the side effects of FGM.

Donya emphasized the need to end this practice and prevent girls from experiencing harmful violence.

“I beg all members of the public to come on board and we fight this menace,”

she said.

Nyamira nominated senator Renee Mayaka and Director of Gender Recovery Center Alberto Mwaura also praised Donya’s initiative and called for collective efforts against FGM.

Mwaura highlighted that FGM is one of the triple threats faced by the country, alongside gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS.

Mayaka expressed concern over the involvement of certain medical personnel in performing FGM secretly and under the guise of safety in hospitals.
“We must stand firm and never allow our parents and girls to be brainwashed by this practice,”she said.

They urged the public to report such cases to relevant authorities.

Esnahs Nyaramba, Chair of Young Democrats and founder of Onsembe Civil Society Organization, emphasized grassroots efforts to sensitize the community about the issue.

However, the medicalization of FGM remains a challenge.

Nyaramba urged public support in achieving zero FGM cases in the region and encouraged men to speak out against harmful social norms both online and offline.

Wicklife Nyachae Ombui, a Board member of the Minto Foundation, stressed the importance of empowering girls and putting an end to the practice.

Ombui pledged collaboration with the county to eliminate the menace faced by teenagers, ultimately promoting their success and women’s empowerment.

According to the Kenya Demographics Health Survey, FGM prevalence among women aged 15-49 has decreased from 21% to 15% nationally, although regional variations among different ethnic groups persist.

The girls who attended the anti-FGM seminar at Nduru Girls Keenly listening to the speakers. Photo | Orenge Wycliff

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