KENYA: Kenya joins fight against female circumcision

Bukwo When Mr Zakaria Cherukut wanted to circumcise his 14-year-old daughter in 2010, he chose to take her over to Kenya among the Sabaot tribe, and the little girl was circumcised. Mr Cherukut is not alone, many traditional Sabiny who still value female genital mutilation but were confronted by the new anti-FGM Law in Uganda have had their daughters either circumcised in the bush or in neighbouring Kenya where the law was non-existent. However, Kenya might cease to be a safe haven after its governemnt proposed a law, still in waiting, against the vice. A study sponsored by Reproductive Education and Community Health programme (REACH) released in October says female mutilation is increasing across borders yet border police have done little to stop the practice.

“The issue is so politically sensitive to manage for example Uganda has a law against FGM but the Kenyan government has been shying away from collaborating and coming up with a joint communications strategy to try to dissuade people from the practice,” Ms Beatrice Chelangat, the director of REACH, an NGO sensitising against FGM, said during a cross-border meeting at Amanang Secondary School in Bukwo District on Friday. But with the Kenyan government coming on board, many believe that FGM will be eliminated by 2015. According to Mr Richard Luswat Wanyonyi, a communications officer with Peace and Human Rights Programme, the Kenyan government has also passed a Bill in Parliament to end FGM and a strategy aimed at eliminating FGM amongst the Sabaot, Pokot, Turkana, Kelenjin, Samburu, and the Somali community in northern Kenya. “We have joined you in the struggle against FGM. We must fight and ensure that this vice ends completely,” Mr Wanyonyi said. Ms Monica Chepkwemboi, a community development officer in Bukwo, commended Kenya’s move but said Kenya must walk the talk.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor
DATE: December 13, 2011

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