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Anti-FGM initiative launched in Garissa

The Garissa County government and Unicef have launched an initiative dubbed, Stop the Cut aimed at eradicating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages in Lagdera Sub-county.

Launching the initiative in Lagdera Saturday, the County Executive for Gender Zeinab Digale said the program aims at accelerating abandonment of FGM and child marriages following the presidential order to end the retrogressive culture by 2022.

Digale said the initiative targets at least 450 community members and 1,000 girls who will be mentored to become champions that will advocate against the vice.

The CEC affirmed that advocacy forums and creation of awareness will be scaled up in a bid to eradicate the harmful practice.

“One of the specific objectives of this initiative is to assess community perception and level of knowledge on FGM and child marriages. We need to root out this vice once and for all,” said Digale.

“We will involve County staff, National Government officials, chiefs, religious leaders, community leaders and survivors to spread the message on the effects of this harmful practice,” she added.

Unicef Representative Zeinab Ahmed said the initiative’s scope entailed community dialogue sessions, community mobilization and awareness.

“This will be a key priority in the project that also provides psychological support to the victims and individual counseling and building a community support system for Children affected by FGM, child marriage and violence in Lagdera Sub-county,” Ahmed said.

Lagdera Assistant County Commissioner Ezekiel Kiplagat assured both the county Government and Unicef   of the necessary support in the campaign to eradicate the outdated cultural practice from the sub county.

Garissa County has one of the highest prevalence of FGM in the country at 94 per cent. FGM was banned in Kenya in 2011 and President Uhuru Kenyatta wants it completely stamped out by the end of next year.

By Jacob Songok

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