The practice of Female Genital Mutilation is widely condemned in Kenya. The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act (No.32 of 2011), is an Act of parliament. The Act protects individuals from mental and physical violence as a result of Female Genital Mutilation. There is need to utilize a paradigm shift which leads these communities that are still practicing, to understand that FGM is not the only way to embracing African culture. There is no disproportion between the life of girl and boy child is society. Both genders deserve a chance to exercise their rights and freedoms without subject to any discrimination. To achieve this transformative cultural change, partners and stakeholders need to ensure dissemination of information on the effects of female genital mutilation.
Although matters regarding culture require community willingness and decision to achieve sustainable change, all community interventions requires a strategic approach in order to address any challenge at the local level. To achieve this, community members and gatekeepers should be sensitized and their capacity build to ensure that they spearhead the process of enlightening other local members of the community.
In eradication of female genital mutilation, FIDA Kenya through the support of GOK/UNFPA 8th country programme, has continued to engage police, Chiefs, Nyumba Kumi and county commissioners in West Pokot, Narok, Elgeyo Marakwet, Samburu and Baringo. The trainings are meant to empower the officers with information on how to handle sexual gender based violence (SGBV) cases with an objective to improve advocacy, prevention, reporting and referral of SGBV cases, increase access to accurate and appropriate information services on sexual reproductive health rights and lobby for gender responsive accountability.
One of the prevailing outcomes after the trainings for instance in Baringo is the increased awareness on GBV and FGM which has been implemented in Baringo South, Baringo North, Tiaty and Edama Ravine. Mapping of hotspots was conducted and 16 regions were identified as hotspots among them; Marigat, Ichamus, Mukutani, Churo Amaya, Tangubei, Kolowa, Tirioko, Silale, Mogotio, Kisanana, Emining, Bawesa, Bartabwa, Saimo, Kipsaramani, and Mochongoi and as a result 30 GBV networks were formed in these areas. The networks will address SGBV cases and refer them to FIDA Kenya.
In Narok County the law enforcement officers acknowledge to have done sensitizations as per the work plans they developed during the training. In Entontil area the law enforcement officers have continued to create awareness on female genital mutilation, gender based violence, Children’s Act, women’s rights and children’s rights and reached out to a total of 150 women and 400 youth. 17 cases of school drop outs were reported and action taken while 4 cases of custody of children are in court. The law enforcement officers have also created awareness on effects of FGM and women/ girls rights in 8 primary schools.
In Ngong area Kajiado County there has been good progress and strides shown by the stakeholders with the knowledge gained from FIDA Kenya trainings on female genital mutilation and child early forced marriage. They have had sustained conversations around violence against women and girls (VAWG) and their collective efforts in addressing the problem. Through multi-agency cooperation, the fight against FGM and early child marriage has yielded results with several girls being rescued. For example, Ms. Resian was rescued by one of the pastors trained by FIDA, and readmitted to school. In collaboration with the County Commissioner’s office and the Constituency Development Fund, the pastor has secured bursary funding for Ms. Resian and other two (2) girls who have been rescued from early marriage and also arrested 3 perpetrators of VAWG. However this has not been without its share of challenges. Concerns have been raised that sometimes even after reporting assault cases, some women still do not want their husbands arrested or jailed. An incident was reported where a woman had to beg the police to have her husband released after spending a night in the cell.
On conducting awareness forums on FGM, FIDA Kenya has employed the strategy of networking with trained members from the target groups and likeminded institutions to create awareness on violence against women and girls. The knowledge gained from the trainings is utilized by informing the larger public on the effects of sexual gender based violence. Through the skills gained by the beneficiaries they have been able to set community sanctions on people who perpetrate or don’t report violence. For instance the approach has been adopted in Kajiado County.