Maasai community elders in Laikipia County have signed a pact binding them to fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The elders drawn from Illngwesi, Ildikiri, Mumonyot, Mukogondo and other areas inhabited by Maa communities, were led by Laikipia North Deputy County Commissioner Bernard Odino.
Elders present unanimously said they recognize that FGM is a violation of women and girls’ rights which has consequences.
The agreement was signed yesterday during the commemoration of Zero Tolerance against FGM. The theme for this year’s commemoration is “partnering with men and boys to transform social and gender norms to end FGM”.
Some of the elders who spoke during the occasion said they recognized their role as community leaders and custodians of culture with a duty to guide and protect their community members and at the same time applauded the government’s effort in the fight against FGM.
“We appreciate the contribution and role of our women and girls in bringing development to our community. Therefore, we affirm our commitment to end FGM, commit to the protection from harmful cultural practices through creating awareness and promoting education for the girl child,” they said unanimously.
They also vowed to work with Anti-FGM stakeholders aimed at eliminating the harmful cultural practice.
Odino said FGM cases in Laikipia were high and added that some go unreported. “There is a challenge in reporting and we have been informed by experts that, the high cases of pregnant women who visits hospital to give birth, have undergone FGM,” revealed Odino.
The DCC however said they had mapped areas with FGM cases in order to nab those found practicing the retrogressive culture.
Anti-FGM board chairperson Ipato Surum who was the chief guest said involving men in campaign against the FGM will ensure the vice is eliminated completely.
“Given the deep-rooted nature of FGM among practicing communities, deliberate and bold steps need to be taken by involving men and boys in the end FGM conversation,” said Surum.
By Muturi Mwangi