Government officers have been challenged to help in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in order to rid the country of the vice by the year 2022.
The Anti-FGM Board Chairperson, Agnes Pareiyo said the board was working towards implementing the latest Presidential directive that the practice should be eradicated in the country by the year 2022.
Speaking on Saturday in Doldol, Laikipia North Sub County where she presided over an alternative rite of passage for over 40 girls, Ms. Pareiyo said the Anti-FGM Board was working closely with chiefs and other government officials to stamp out the outdated practice that denies girls the right to education since they are married off after undergoing the cut.
“Some parents see girls as a source of wealth and marry them off early after subjecting them to FGM, this will not be tolerated in Kenya and that is why we are working closely with chiefs to identify such parents and have them arrested,” Ms. Pareiyo said.
She added that the Anti-FGM Board had identified 22 hotspot counties among them Laikipia where FGM was widely practiced and called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to end the vice.
“We know FGM is a deeply rooted culture in many communities in the country but the only way of overcoming it is by working together between government and parents to stem the vice and rid the country of it by 2022,” she added.
Ms. Helen Gathogo, the Executive Director of One More Day Centre (OMDC), a rescue home for young girls escaping FGM said that her organisation had trained the girls on mentorship and skills development for three months before undergoing the alternative rite of passage.
Ms. Gathogo added that apart from the centre being a safe house for girls escaping from FGM and early marriages; it also educates them to become Anti-FGM ambassadors in the communities they hail from.
“Currently we have several of the girls in secondary school and we hope that they will be good role models in the communities they come from to show that they don’t deserve to undergo the cut and be married off early,” Ms. Gathogo said.
She regretted that cases of young girls being subjected to FGM are rife in Laikipia County and called for intensive sensitization against the retrogressive vice that denies women a bright future.
By Martin Munyi