The Kenya Anti-Female Genital Mutilation board in collaboration with Safe Engage Foundation, has launched a programme dubbed arts to end FGM by children.
The programme aims at using arts and creativity by children, to send anti-FGM messages while also giving children safe spaces to speak about FGM and show their talents.
Christine Gatti, the director of Safe Engage Foundation (SEF), a Community Based Organization in Kuria, says that the use of arts among children will help campaign messages stick longer.
During a meeting held on Thursday in Kehancha town, Gatti said that the move is to ensure children are sensitized about the need to discourage FGM activities at a tender age.
Gatti noted that the challenges that children face have been subjected to solutions that are arrived at by adults and not the children.
This has adverse effects, especially when discouraging young children from certain outlawed norms of which they are naïve about like female circumcision.
“We feel children are left behind in as much as we are trying to eradicate this vice. And that is the reason why we are engaging them to use their creativity in arts to pass messages that help to foster the anti-FGM fight,” she stated.
She also stressed the importance of engaging children, especially when talking about matters that involve and affect them directly.
Such engagement will give them opportunities to express themselves in addressing the challenges that are affecting them among them violence against children, she added.
The Anti-FGM Board Programmes Manager Nyerere Kutwa applauded the Safe Engage Foundation for involving children in the fight against female circumcision and specifically through arts.
Kutwa stated that children and art in fighting FGM, is an avenue that has not been fully exploited and hence the initiative breathes new life into the campaigns.
In addition, he mentioned that the reemergence of arts to end FGM is a testimony of the desire of the government and the community to end the vice completely.
“The artistic performance demonstrated by children here today will help to further spread the messages of eradicating the vice,” said Kutwa.
As a board, Kutwa stated that they have launched Youth anti-FGM Networks in the region as well as engagement of cultural elders of Kuria clans in the anti-FGM campaigns.
These avenues added to the introduction of arts to end FGM, he stated, is being used by the government to reach out to everybody to help stop further cutting.
“We are very confident that the messages have been sinking home to the Kuria community because of the way they are actually taking up the activities,” Kutwa noted.
Kuria West Sub County children’s officer Mr. James Omondi while gracing the occasion said that the department of children will continue to do more advocacy on children’s matters
“We will engage with other organizations to champion for the safety of children in the region, especially against the vices like FGM,” said Omondi.
The team also intends to incorporate art program to end FGM in the region’s schools, especially Kuria East and West Sub-Counties.
Among the schools that the programme is already enrolled in include, Kendege, Igena and Nyatechi primary schools in the Kuria regions.
By Polycarp Ochieng/George Agimba