Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has from long ago been a cultural practice among Sabaot community in Mt. Elgon region.
Despite the fact that it has been outlawed, traditional circumcisers have now changed the trend on how they conduct it.
Speaking on Wednesday during the International Day for zero tolerance against FGM, Kopsiro acting Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), David Bowen noted that the practice is being done by tradition birth attendants.
The DCC urged women who want to give birth to visit health facilities where they will be paid for by the national government under the Linda Mama programme.
He assured the residents that law enforcing agents have been working round the clock together to wipe off the practice completely. According to Ms. Milka Kemei, a reformed circumciser who was also in attendance, FGM has reduced drastically in the region.
Kemei attributed the reduction to several seminars and training where former traditional circumcisers were taught about the negative impact of FGM.
Kemei, the co-founder of the reformed group called Cheroto women group said that despite them having reformed, the government has not funded the group so they can have another alternative way of earning a living.
“The women are facing a lot of challenges especially after reforming one of our women most of them don’t have a good house and live in extreme poverty making it hard for her to even survive causing them to return to their previous practices to earn a living,” said Kemei.
Miss Tourism Bungoma County, Ms Joyce Nasambu who was the chief guest urged Mt. Elgon area people to stop the act, saying that she will continue with the campaign until she achieves zero tolerance to FGM.
Nasambu lauded the women who had reformed and surrendered the knife that they used to conduct the act she further gave them a gift hamper for the brave courage they had made.
She asked the women to come up with another way of passage for the young girl as they move from childhood to adulthood.
The Miss Tourism Bungoma County said she wants people to come together for the purpose of helping the reformed traditional circumcisers to form groups to enable them get some funds to have an alternative way of earning a living and run their daily lives.
Nasambu, who is dedicated to end FGM asked the reformed traditional circumcisers to continue with the good work and support one another as they wait for fund for their group.
“I am going to bring to the attention of Governor of your good move so as he can bring well-wishers on board to fund your group,” she noted.
In support of the zero tolerance movement was the Bungoma County Executive for Gender, Mrs. Everly Kakai who also echoed the same sentiment on the fight against FGM.
Kakai stated that they will come up with projects for the women groups which have decided to stop the mutilation practice as an alternative way of income generation.
She said plans are underway to help empower the women to start businesses and also practice farming to help sustain themselves.
The executive asked stake holders to give a hand in supporting the courageous women. “We urge the stakeholders to come through to help give a hand and ensure that these women are able to live better lives,” said Kakai.
She then promised to provide education to the women group to help completely wipe out the FGM acts in Mt. Elgon region.
By Douglas Mudambo/Maria Bwami