Migori County has launched two strategic policies towards elimination of female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the region.
The initiatives dubbed ‘Migori County Costed Action Plan’ and ‘The Minimum Service Package’, intends to realize zero FGM status in the county by the end of the action plan.
This effort, according to the county leadership, follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s executive directive to end all forms of FGM in Kenya by the year 2022.
While launching the two policies at a Migori hotel, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) for agriculture, livestock and fisheries Ms. Linah Jebii Kilimo, lauded the county for being the first in the country to launch the two plans.
Kilimo said that the national government will fully support Migori County to ensure that the policies were implemented fully and produce the desired results.
“We want spin all the cogs that would see the President’s Executive Order that calls for FGM to end by 2022 run to fruition,” she told a host of stakeholders during the day-long forum.
Kilimo narrated how she escaped the cut to pursue education and encouraged communities that were still practicing the vice to abandon the backward practice and instead educate the girl child for the benefit of the society.
“I am calling upon all girls in Kenya to simply ignore the practice and pursue their education that would enable them live a better life,” said Kilimo.
She stressed that FGM had no medical or social value but a tradition that was bound to lock them out of school and plunge them into premature marriages that have been proved so detrimental to their development.
The government has already formulated and implemented various declarations that are geared towards halting FGM practices among some practicing communities.
She gave the examples of Kisima declaration among the Samburu, the Boran declaration that was signed by the Ethiopian and Kenyan government and the West Pokot declaration.
“At the moment, we are looking forward to formulating and enforcing the declarations among the Abakuria, the Kisii and Maasai communities before 2022,” announced Kilimo.
The CAS noted that the national government has a free hotline number (1195) that operates 24 hours and encouraged Kenyan to use it to help curb the vice.
She also acknowledged that the ministry was in an advanced stage to develop a ‘Komesha Dhuluma App’ that will be used across all the mobile platforms to promote awareness against the retrogressive vice.
Speaking during the function, Anti-FGM Board Chairperson, Agnes Pareyio stressed the need to domesticate the national policies on FGM to county levels to help end FGM.
“We are calling on private partners to work closely with the national and county governments in bringing the fight against FGM to the footsteps of the perpetrators of this backward tradition,” she emphasized.
Pareyio also acknowledged that the gender department was underfunded and that’s why they had numerous partners like Unicef, Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) and County government that are helping to fight FGM.
“The Board and its partners have decided to run a multi sectoral approach in counties to form sub county FGM steering committees to assist in this war,” said Pareyio.
The chairperson also noted that they will incorporate over 2000 focused groups of boys and girls in the campaigns against the vice.
Also present was the CEO of the Anti- FGM Board Ms. Bernadette Locoju, who said that FGM prevalence rate in Kenya was at 21% meaning that 2 out of 10 girls undergo the cut.
In Migori County, the prevalence rate stands at 78%, meaning that 8 out of 10 girls undergo the cut. She however, noted that Migori data was specifically among the Abakuria community.
The function was also grace by the County Secretary Mr. Christoper Rusana who urged local girls to embrace education as an important investment citing Tanzania President Suluhu Hasan as a role model.
He announced that the county had allocated Sh20 million in 2020-2021 and Sh497 million in 2021-2022 financial years respectively towards supporting the gender department in the fight against FGM.
“We also have a programme that gives out scholarships to needy and bright students especially girls,” he added.
By Geoffrey Makokha and George Agimba.