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Dec 16

Successful community event: a boost to fight the mutilation of girls

This week’s community event was really a success. Most important: the participants decided unanimously that they will not tolerate female genital mutilation any longer. If they hear about any offenses, they want to go to the police and pursue it.

Of course this will not put an end to this practice immediately. However it is an important step: many more people committed themselves to fight against it now.

In the first days of the event, around 180 girls (incl. the girls from the Tareto Maa Center) attended seminars on different topics of sexual and reproductive health, e.g. HIV/AIDS. In the end they celebrated an alternative rite of passage together with the adults.

About 80 adults attended the ending assembly. The team had expected 100 participants. There was a wedding in the community at this day though. This probably was the reason that some people could not participate. However, many important people were there – from the Christian as well as from the Muslim community.

One of the most important Maasai chiefs and also some very prominent local politicians and government representatives participated in the event. They emphasized that the police is increasingly arresting people who still practice female mutilation. Two television crews visited the assembly and also two national newspapers. A woman who had conducted cuttings in the past, explained why she abandoned it. The health officer of the Transmara province spoke as a role model: she has not been circumcised, and nevertheless she is a very esteemed person in the Maasai community now. Furthermore there were many community elders, representatives of the civil society and doctors who supported the decision making.

Only time can tell now what long-term effect this community decision will have on the practices of female circumcision and child marriage in Kilgoris. However, the event gave a strong boost to fight these practices. Now it is essential to keep the momentum.

 

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