Female Genital Mutilation (short FGM) – which affects 200 million women around the world – is still extremely common in certain parts of Kenya, especially among the Kisii, Maasai, Samburu and Somali communities. FGM, which usually consists of the partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora and majora, is almost always performed without anesthesia by traditional cutters, often using unsterilised blades and knives. Girls subjected to the surgery can bleed to death, die from infection, or experience serious complications during later childbirth. According to the UN population fund (UNFPA), 21% of girls and women in Kenya aged 15-49 have undergone FGM.
Kenya outlawed this monstrous practice in 2011. It is illegal to carry out or help someone to procure FGM. Not reporting the practice, or stigmatising a woman – or any man who marries or supports her – for not undergoing the procedure were also banned. Causing death by performing FGM became punishable with life imprisonment. Yet, the procedure is still being performed as Kenyan communities believe that FGM is part of their tradition and necessary for social acceptance, especially for increasing their daughters' marriage prospects. FGM predisposes girls to early marriage in Kenya since after the initiation they are considered mature and can get married.
There are also a lot of social issues involved around the subject. Parents in these communities believe that if their daughter is not circumcised, she will not get married. Men from the same communities are making the situation even worse by avoiding uncircumcised girls since the ones who decide to marry uncircumcised women are rejected by the community and denied their inheritance. Public ceremonies celebrating the illegal season of female genital cutting have been allowed to take place allowed by the authorities in some areas so people can’t rely on the authorities as much as they should.
There is no national program to teach members of these communities, especially young girls and boys about the long-term health and mental implications of FGM. Individuals that are aware of the FGM consequences in those communities claim that is hard to deal with the everyday problems they face regarding the issue, since they are still a minority. Many charities and NGOs from all around the world work to engage with all members of the community where these procedures are most common and help educate and spread awareness of the problems they can cause. One of these NGOs is Pastoralist Child Foundation.
Pastoralist Child Foundation is a NGO dedicated to eradicating female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage in Samburu and Maasai Mara communities, Kenya. They provide educational workshops that focus on, first of all FGM, child marriage, teen pregnancy, sexual & reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, health & sanitation, and the importance of formal education. One of approaches they use for eradicating FGM is safe Alternative Rites of Passage for girls - a ceremony for girls coming of age where song, dance, and speeches take the place of the traditional genital cutting. During this ceremony, they celebrate women and life instead of directly violating a human right.
Women Like Us Foundation and Pastoralist Child Foundation have decided to join forces and fight FGM in Kenya through dedicated workshops to raise awareness of this monstrous issue and save as many girls as we can from suffering! We are set on making an impact! The more these young women know, the better they can help themselves and serve their community and generations to come. Our urgent mission right now is to raise $10,000 within the next month so that we are ready and able to provide more help to 60 boys, girls and adults in Narok area of Kenya where one Masai community is waiting to be educated! We ask that you consider donating and sharing the word of our campaign. Any and all amounts of time, money, and effort are greatly appreciated.