Kisii county launches anti- FGM campaign
Kisii County government has, jointly with the national government and Non-Governmental Organizations launched a five-year program to fight Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Commissioning two documents on Costed Action Plan and Minimum Specific Service Package 2021-2025 to eliminate the ‘cut’ Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), State Department for Gender, Linah Chebii Kilimo lauded the County for cascading the national policy to combat the vice.
The CAs, accompanied by anti-FGM Board Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bernadette Loloyu, Agnes Payeyio, Chairperson and Kisii County Culture, Sports and Social Services Executive Committee Member, Duke Mainga noted that the County’s prevalence rate is 84 percent and urged stakeholders concert effort to reverse it.
“The county’s bold move to domesticate the national policy and undertake specific services will eliminate the Female Genital Mutilation” Kilimo told the press after commissioning the documents at Ufanisi hotel on Thursday.
Pareyio blamed professionals and women from the area for keeping quiet amid escalating cases of the vice, adding some parents took advantage of the Covid 19 pandemic and long holidays to subject their children to the retrogressive practice.
She said there were many cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) during the period, stressing some parents in some communities took their children to undergo the cut so that they can be married and they be paid dowry.
“When professionals and women are quiet, it means they agree with the vice. It is sad that some health workers are perpetuating the Female genital Mutilation for selfish gain,” Pareyio stated.
Mainga said the County government has partnered with the national government, Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) Kenya and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to battle end the vice.
“It is wrong to subject the girl-child and women to FGM. It is a violation of their human rights and should be ended” Mainga said.
According to the research by stakeholders in the documents, 3.6 million girls nationally are at risk of being ‘cut’ annually while 200 million girls and women have undergone FGM globally.
The survey says FGM contravenes United Nations convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW) the rights of the child and universal declaration of Human rights globally.
Locally, the vice contravenes the prohibition of FGM Act 2011, the constitution of Kenya, 2010 and protection against domestic violence Act 2015, the document says.
“FGM deprives girls their integrity, health, security, freedom from torture, cruelty, inhumane and degrading treatment and a right to life when the procedure results in death” the research reads in part.
The research says health professionals in Migori and Kisii counties collude with parents to cut girls aged 0 to 4, which comprise 19.6 percent and the counties have a prevalence rate of 75 percent for Abagusii and Abakuria communities.
In Kisii County, two in every three girls are cut by health workers and they do it homes with the consent of mothers and grandmothers.
“Health care providers are increasingly performing FGM to avoid health complications, quick recovery and secrecy of the vice due to its illegality” says the survey conducted among stakeholders.
According to the survey, girls cut at advanced age feel they are mature, drop out of school and get married, which disorients their education and lives.
Traditional circumcisers and health workers conduct FGM to earn a living while parents take their children for the practice so that they are not stigmatized and humiliated.