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Policy document drafted to end FGM in Taita Taveta

Taita Taveta County is at a pole position to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by 2022 if the validation of the policy document to end the practice is anything to go by.

Stakeholders drawn from the National Government, County Officials, and human rights groups converged at Voi yesterday, to endorse and validate the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Policy Document that will then be presented to the County Assembly for passing into law.

Taita Taveta is among 22 FGM hotspots in Kenya as revealed in the 2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) Data. Kenya has over Four (4) million women and girls who have experienced at least one form of FGM.

Nationally, the FGM prevalence stands at 21 per cent. Regrettably the prevalence is as high as 98 per cent in some Northeastern counties.

According to KDHS 2014 survey, 22.3 per cent of women in the age bracket of 15-49 years in Taita Taveta have undergone the cut. This is slightly above the national index. Locally, the cruel tradition is concentrated in Wundanyi, Maungu, Timbila, Miasenyi, Mata, Kishushe, and Salaita.

Participants at the validation exercise for the document unanimously agreed time had come for the FGM to be stopped at all costs as it had adverse impacts on victims.

Ms Isabella Kidede, a technical committee member at World Vision, said that the document was a step in the right direction as far as FGM was concerned.

“Efforts should not stop with passing the document into law but as well going after perpetrators and bringing them to book. There is no room left for even one girl to undergo FGM in whichever form. This document is our resolve to stand united and defend the dignity of our girls and women in all corners of Kenya,” he adding.

The validation of the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence SGBV policy comes after ratification and adoption of the document by the County Assembly.

From here, the document will be presented to the County’s Cabinet before finally going back to the County Assembly to be enacted into law.

Countrywide, the fight against FGM is in high gear following the directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta to have zero FGM cases by 2022.

This milestone now seems like a reality following the unanimous adoption of the policy document across regions listed as FGM hotspots.

By Arnold Linga Masila

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