In Kehancha, Migori County, the Government of Kenya launched the Day of the African Child (DAC), in preparation for the main event of the DAC on Thursday, 16th, June 2022. Linah Chebii Kilimo, who was the Guest of Honor, stated how she has come a long way in advocating for the elimination of harmful practices, including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in her Kalenjin community and the entire world at large. “You must put a full stop to Female Genital Mutilation because it is harmful to our communities, our children and the development of communities. For gender equality to be achieved, we must remove all the hurdles and things that will stop the women from exploiting their potential like the way the men do,” said Linah Chebii Kilimo. https://mtotonewsblog.wordpress.com/2022/06/10/the-government-launches-the-day-of-the-african-child-2022-in-kehancha-migori/
Children have opened up and spoken in line with the theme of the DAC (2022) - Eliminating Harmful Practices affecting Children: Progress on Policy & Practice since 2013. In regards to that, they request the abolishment of harmful practices that most African children experience in their communities who are deeply rooted to the FGM culture. Kuria region has a high record of FGM, teenage pregnancies and school dropouts according to Micontrap, a Non- Governmental Organization. “We are no longer working to reduce Female Genital Mutilation but, towards eradicating the practice,” says County Commissioner for Migori County. https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/kenya/article/2001402823/board-four-million-women-girls-living-with-fgm-in-kenya
Female Genital Mutilation is globally documented as a violation of human rights. Over two-hundred million girls are at risk of undergoing the harmful practice, the majority being under the age of fifteen years old. In Kenya, the Kuria community in Migori County has the highest rates FGM. “I am Wekesa (not her real name) a Luhya woman who has been married in the Kuria community for over thirty years. I am a grandmother, and my daughters are married here. It is sad that every time there is circumcision, we must hide in the Chief’s home for fear of forceful FGM.”
The elders in the community are highly respected within the Kuria community because it is believed they hold mythical powers, and their word is law. According to the elders, a girl transforms into an adult only after circumcision. It is the elders who prescribe when circumcision is taking place and coordinate the process.
As a resolution at the County level, the County Government needs to merge efforts with the elders and grassroot organizations to challenge the social norms and behaviours that drive FGM.
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