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Alternative rite of passage

Residents of Samburu East have been asked to abandon culture of subjecting young girls to Female Genital Mutilation and early marriages.
Wamba senior chief Salimu Lesashore warned that anyone found abetting circumcision of girls or marrying them off will be arrested and prosecuted.
“A child has her own rights which must be respected; FGM is a criminal activity whoever is found practicing it will be arrested, charged and jailed by a court of law,” he said.
An officer in charge of anti-FGM program at World Vision Josphie Leturju said an increased number of girls were forced to undergo FGM ahead of early marriages during December holidays every year.
Leturju asked parents in the region to protect their children against harmful cultural practices and give them a chance to pursue their education in order to improve their lives in future.
“The world has changed and many of our girls are dropping out of schools for FGM and early marriages. I ask parents to cooperate in protecting and advising our children against harmful cultural practices,” she said.
They were speaking on Christmas eve at Wamba town in a ceremony that saw 250 girls graduate into a new stage of life through alternative rite of passage and become ambassadors of Anti-FGM after a mentorship training program for two weeks.
“We came up with an alternative rite of passage where we can fulfill all cultural stages apart from the act of circumcising a girl,” said Leturju.
Those who graduated also received blessings from elders in a cultural prayer ceremony after undergoing an alternative rite of passage.
A number of elders and the girls vowed to stop FGM in their villages by sharing a message on its effects with their neighbours in their villages.
By Robert Githu

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