Men Leading the Charge Against FGM/C in Garissa

In the heart of Garissa County, a profound shift is underway, led by the Men for Change movement. Recognizing the urgent need to protect women and girls from the scourge of Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C), this coalition of dedicated individuals has sparked a transformative movement that is reshaping community attitudes and behaviors.

With unwavering commitment, the Men for Change champions, supported by The Girl Generation (TGG) program, have embarked on a journey of collective action to eradicate FGM/C. Armed with empathy and determination, they have engaged men across Garissa County in open dialogues, challenging entrenched cultural norms and advocating for gender equality and human rights.

Hussein Ali Muhumed, popularly known as Mzee Bundid engages other cultural on ending FGM/C

At the forefront of this movement are respected figures like Mzee Bundid, whose wisdom and compassion have inspired profound change. Leveraging their influence, Men for Change leaders have worked closely with religious leaders, elders, and community influencers to amplify their message of abandonment of FGM/C.

‘We recognized the pivotal role that men play in shaping community attitudes and behaviors and believed that by mobilizing them as allies, they could bring about meaningful change in no time. We engaged the community through dialogues, where we shared stories of the harmful effects of FGM/C on women and girls in our community and fostered discussions about the importance of ending the practice,” said Hussein Ali Muhumed, popularly known as Mzee Bundid, a respected elder known for his wisdom and compassion.

The impact of these efforts is undeniable. In mosques and community gatherings, religious leaders now preach against FGM/C, signaling a seismic shift in societal attitudes. What was once a taboo subject is now openly discussed, empowering women and girls to speak out against FGM/C without fear or shame.

Mzee Bandid added: “We also leveraged our influence to work closely with religious leaders, elders, and community influencers, encouraging them to speak out against FGM/C and promote gender equality. Lately, the religious leaders during their sermons in the mosque preach about the need to abandon the FGM/C. This has been our biggest breakthrough as a movement in achieving to end FGM/C. Young men have also been very active in social media and radio campaigns, advocating for the end of the practice.”

“I see a future in our community where every woman and girl could live free from the shadow of FGM/C, and where men could protect the former from any form of violence,” noted a hopeful Mzee Bandid.

Through innovative social media and radio campaigns, The Men for Change movement has made significant progress, reaching 27 locations in Garissa and engaging 1420 men in conversations to eradicate FGM/C. This surpasses their initial target of 800 men, indicating the effectiveness of their approach.

As the momentum grows, so does the vision for a future where every woman and girl in Garissa County can live free from the shadows of FGM/C. With each conversation, each sermon, and each act of advocacy, the Men for Change movement is forging a path toward a more just and equitable society.

Authors:  Zamzam Hassan, Project Coordinator the Girl Generation Programme . Mary Consolata Makokha, Communications Officer ActionAid Kenya 

Edited by Ezra Kiriago ,Communications Coordinator ActionAid Kenya.

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