At least 264 girls from Tarang’anya Girls, Safe Engage Foundation, Gosenso and Ravine rescue centers in Kuria met with their parents for the first time after two months to initiate an integration process.
The meeting which took place at Kehancha town involved showcasing talents and skills learned while at the rescue centers that included art, modeling, photography, journalism skills and first aid organised by WHOlives, a non-government organization.
When schools closed in November 2022 girls from Kuria fled to more than six rescue centers to evade the cut.
Kuria West Sub County Children Officer James Omondi said they had already contacted the community and the girls’ parents to start the process of reintegrating them back to their community before the opening of the 2023 school calendar.
Omondi said that at least 14 Tanzanian girls who escaped the cut have already been returned to their families in Tanzania with the cooperation of security personnel and gender activists.
Kuria West Sub County Police Commandant Cleti Kimaiyo promised that his team will be on the lookout to ensure that the integrated girls remain secure at their homes before schools commence next week.
He said that the police will continue working with the police gender desk and gender officials to ensure that the rescued girls are not subjected to the cut.
James Mukundi an officer with WHOlives said before being re-integrated back into their families, parents and guardians will have to sign a commitment form that they will not expose their children to the vice.
Mukundi added that his organisation together with other well-wishers have been distributing food items to the rescue centers in the region. The organisation also ensured that the gender desks in four local police stations of Isebania, Kegonga, Kehancha and Ntimaru were safe for both girls fleeing FGM.
Kuria East Member of Parliament Maisori Kitayama however, noted that the Anti FGM actors were using the wrong approach that will take time to eliminate the vice. Kitayama noted that the only way to deal with FGM effectively is to ensure girls are educationally empowered to understand the negatives of FGM.
“My father had 42 children with nearly half being female and yet only our elder sister underwent the cut around the 1970s. All my other siblings were educated by my father and none has subjected their kids to the cut, noted Kitayama.
The legislature who spoke to KNA emphasised that most families are now moving away from the culture because they have understood that the only way to address the menace is to empower girls educationally.
He pointed out that the county and national government should come up with affirmative action where the government can engage the resident through mass recruitments in FGM practicing counties.
He explained that urbanisation was already reducing the FGM practice adding that the outdated practice will be wiped out with emerging towns in Kuria like Kehancha and Isebania.
By Geoffrey Makokha