“ Together, we can eliminate female genital mutilation by 2030. Doing so will have a positive ripple effect on the health, education and economic advancement of girls and women……UN Secretary-General António Guterres
Imagine a little girl bewildered and frightened with no one to turn to, living in constant fear and excruciating pain. This is the reality of thousands of girls who have been forced to go through Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). A harmful and discriminatory practice that will unfortunately not end until we break the silence and support efforts towards elimination of FGM.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 30 million girls are at risk of being cut within the next decade and more than 3 million girls are at risk annually just in the African continent alone. Besides causing severe pain, this practice has immediate and long-term consequences for the health of women and girls, including complications during childbirth, which could endanger the lives of both mother and child.
Hindrances in the fight against FGM
The affected communities are rooted in their culture with major resistance experienced by Frontline Church Partners (FCPs) while dealing with the challenge. Parents play a key role in eradicating this vice but because stigma within the community, they comply despite the dangers posed by the procedure.
believed that law enforcement officers especially the sub-chiefs and chiefs have
largely been reluctant in implementing the FGM Act 2011
On the other hand, some government officials have been known to a blind eye to this vice when reports are made are also seen as abetting the practice since when they received reports of the intended initiation rite in the community, they do nothing to apprehend those planning for the rite nor do they rescue the girls.
How Compassion has stepped in
Our active prevention and immediate response strategies seek to ensure that children of all ages do not undergo any form of abuse and exploitation. We are involving parents as our main influencers in child development to ensure they fulfill their parental responsibility as the main duty bearers.
We have also been intentional in supporting the work of the churches in the fight against FGM. Currently, 40 churches in Marsabit-Isiolo, Samburu-Isiolo, Baringo-Marakwet, Migori-Narok clusters received complementary intervention funds to educate parents on the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation. We seek to equip caregivers of these 40 churches with knowledge on the dangers of the practice and hence facilitate abandonment of the practice and embrace alternative rites of passage for the girls and women.
Involving parents can positively influence and change the cultural values adopted by the families and communities. For instance, girls can also be influenced to value education and the community to focus on developmental values that promote entrepreneurship and economic independence. Not to mention, their active involvement will also lead to community champions who will report cases when if they occur.
Female Genital Mutilation is so deeply ingrained in traditional culture. Due to this, we are seeing communities through the efforts of the church, as they are developing models for alternative rite of passage for the girls. We are also seeing parents make a formal commitment not to take their girl child through circumcision.
One of our church partners has rescued 76 girls who were at risk of undergoing FGM. In 2015 they took 49 ladies to a rescue center at Komotobo and in December 2019, they were able to rescue 27 ladies with the help of other churches in Migori cluster and Msichana.
Through the empowerment of a local community-based organization, Rose Boke Chacha (not her real name) who is a youth in their program escaped FGM twice, when family members wanted to forcefully circumcise her. She immediately reported the case to the program facilitators and the police. The church acted swiftly and moved her to a rescue center. She is safe and currently a student at Eldoret Training Institute taking a diploma in Social work.
When we collaborate strengthen the efficiencies and effectiveness to tackle down the needs of our communities and generate a better impact for a better world. Together we can Act to End FGM.
No Time for Global Inaction: Unite, Fund, and Act to End Female Genital Mutilation by 2030!