Join anti-Female Genital Mutilation fight, locals urged

Monday, January 20th, 2020 05:15 |
ChildFund’s child protection officer Emily Kanana.

Residents in Tharaka Nithi county have been urged to join in efforts to fight Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which is still rampant in some areas of the county.

Calling on leaders and locals to join in the anti-FGM fight over the weekend, ChildFund’s child protection officer Emily Kanana said 122 teenage girls in the county were saved from facing the knife after they underwent an alternative rite of passage under the JukumuLetu Programme in December.

She said the girls were taken through training and mentorship to provide them with skills to transition into young adults, a project started in July 2018 to strengthen both formal and informal child protection systems. 

Addressing area leaders at a stakeholders meeting in Kamarandi Primary School, Kanana said the alternative rite of passage was organised in conjunction with the Department of Children’s Services, the Ministry of Interior, the County and National governments.

Retrogressive culture

“Some of the retrogressive cultural practices have hindered the development of girls,” she said, adding that ChildFund has trained champions to advance child protection in the communities to help deal with the issues. 

“We want to offer the girls education. It is alarming to note that 10 per cent of girls in Tharaka Nithi between the age of 15 and 19 have undergone the cut while another 14 per cent have given birth or they are pregnant,” she said.

FGM is usually performed during the long school holidays in December. Beneficiaries of the programme were drawn from vulnerable families in the community.

“To empower adolescents, we are putting up a rescue centre and a school with a solar-powered Internet access to enable the girls take up skills in ICT,” said Kanana.

Chief of Kamarandi location chief Abed Rwito said FGM prevalence has decreased.

He, however, noted that those still practising it are moving young girls across the county borders for the cut to be performed.

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