According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2022, the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation declined from 38% in 1998 to 15% in 2022. Despite this progress, more concerted efforts are needed for Kenya to achieve the ICPD25 Promise of Zero Gender-Based Violence and harmful traditional practices like FGM.
ActionAid Kenya through the Girl Generation: Support to the Africa-Led Movement to End FGM/C Programme strategically engages women’s rights networks from Isiolo and Garissa counties to act as champions and agents of change within their communities and help in ending Female Genital Mutilation. The ALM programme is girl-centred, where girls are placed at the heart of the programme design, implementation, and evaluation.
To highlight the programme’s and women’s rights efforts to end FGM/C, we organized a consultative forum between the rights groups and the Anti-FGM board to share ideas and challenges and agree on how best to strengthen partnerships between communities and the government through the board in realizing the goal to end FGM/C.
The workshop was organized on 27th February 2023. During the meeting, women from the two counties highlighted some of the challenges they face in fighting for the rights of the girl child. Some of their concerns ranged from lack of support from the local administration in protecting girls from undergoing the cut and challenges accessing justice for survivors through prosecution of perpetrators and enablers.
“As a representative of women, we face various challenges, especially protecting girls from undergoing FGM due to lack of support from local administrators and cultural leaders in protecting girls from FGM and seeking justice for survivors. We request that the board looks into how perpetrators can be prosecuted as a lesson to others who are supporters or enablers of the vice.” Stated Amina Lilian from Isiolo Voice of Women.
Her sentiments were shared by Kamuthe Women’s Group counterparts from Fafi, Garissa County.
Speaking at the workshop, the Chief Executive Officer of the AntiFGM Board, Mrs. Bernadette Loloju assured the women’s rights networks of the board support in ensuring that FGM is eradicated.
“Matters relating to the rights of women and girls are close to my heart and are a top priority for the board. We endeavor to ensure that FGM is rooted out by working together with organizations like those represented here. Indeed, you are the light of the society, and we will ensure that your voice is heard.” Stated Mrs Bernadette Loloju C.E.O Anti-FGM Board.
Through the consultative forum, we explored and agreed on areas of partnership and collaboration to ensure that we reduce entirely cases of FGM/C in these two counties. Ending FGM is part of ActionAid’s broader vision of a world where women and girls have greater access to and control over their bodies, sexuality, and reproductive health.
Author: Ezra Kiriago (Communications Coordinator, ActionAid Kenya)