Female Genital Mutilation or “cutting” is a gross violation of the human rights of girls and women.
According to the United Nations: over 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM. If current trends continue, about 86 million additional girls worldwide will be subjected to the practice by 2030. FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15. FGM cause severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth increased risk of newborn deaths.
Female genital mutilation (circumcision) is the removal of a female’s clitoris, primarily to inhibit feelings of sexual pleasure. In Kenyan communities where FGM is practised, cutting of girls is considered a rite of passage into womanhood. The practice was first started many decades ago to prevent women in pastoralist communities from having sex with other men while their husbands were away tending cattle.
Most girls never get a chance to decide whether or not to have this atrocious act inflicted upon them. The methods used in cutting these girls are crude and rash, inflicting lifelong trauma and psychological damage upon victims. Effects of FGM on women include severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths. – WHO
Though officially banned in Kenya in 2011, FGM still remains prevalent in some communities – amongst the Somalis at 98%, Kisii at 96% and Maasai at 73%. Being deeply rooted in cultural beliefs and traditions, enforcing parliament’s ‘Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2011’ has been challenging for authorities as parents and close family members continue to secretly turn over their daughters for the procedure.
To understand FGM more:
- Read our interview with a survivor: Redempta Wekesa on the ills of Female Genital Mutilation
- View photos: Pokot Traditional Rite to Womanhood
We believe that sensitization of local communities on the adverse effects and needlessness of FGM is the most effective means of saving girls in danger of being cut.
- To help raise awareness about Female Genital Mutilation and it’s crippling effects on girls.
- To support organizations on the ground in Kenya that are actively involved in educating and sensitizing the public (especially in local communities where FGM is still rampant) on the disadvantages of FGM.
- To support local organizations that provide housing and care to girls who have fled from their homes to escape being cut.
HELP RAISE AWARENESS
“As a country we must aspire to achieve a zero FGM status where every girl can go to school, find and fulfill her destiny, enjoy her rights and contribute to nation building.” – Margaret Kenyatta, First Lady of Kenya