Community leaders in Kajiado County have urged girls to remain in school as part of a communal initiative to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriages.
Assistant chief of Oloika sub-location Stephen Ole Kurenta reiterated the importance of communal efforts in protecting girls against FGM and advocating for the rights of children to receive education.
“Female genital mutilation and early marriages are carried out in secret because people have begun to appreciate that it is a crime. These cultural practices have contributed to lack of development in our area as young girls are being forced to drop out of school. We need to embrace education and work together to eradicate the vice of female genital mutilation,” emphasized Kurenta.
According to Kibiko Sub-location assistant chief Lucy Kimashia, the community leaders have conducted campaigns against FGM and early marriages by empowering young girls to focus on their education.
“We have been empowering and cautioning young girls from the Maasai community to focus on their education because when they get pregnant they are forcefully married off to much older men. We are offering sponsorship for girls who have been rescued until they complete their tertiary education,” assured Kimashia.
Kajiado West sub-county children’s officer Cosmas Kerera cautioned community members against breaking the law by carrying out practices that violate the welfare of children citing president Uhuru Kenyatta’s zero tolerance to FGM policy.
“The constitution protects the rights of children against harmful practices like female genital mutilation and early marriages. Those who are caught engaging in these unlawful practices will be arrested and charged,” said Kerera.
The Female Genital Mutilation Act, 2011, imposes a minimum three-year sentence or a minimum fine of Sh200, 000 for persons carrying out FGM.
By Alice Gworo