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Underfunding hinders the fight against FGM

The anti-female genital mutilation (FGM) stakeholders in Laikipia County have pointed to underfunding, radicalization, and cultural practices as the major setbacks in the fight against the FGM vice.

Speaking with the media after an anti-FGM stakeholder’s sensitization workshop in Nanyuki, Anti-FGM Board Programme Manager Nyerere Kutwa said that the government was committed to eradicating FGM by the year 2022, but there were still challenges that needed to be addressed by all the key players in the sector.

Laikipia East Deputy County Commissioner Patrick Muli speaking to Ant-FGM stakeholders during a workshop in Nanyuki, Laikipia County. He called for a partnership aimed at achieving Zero tolerance against FGM in the county. Photo by Muturi Mwangi

He noted that there was positive progress because, according to the 2022 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, there was a drop in FGM cases from 21 per cent in 2014 to 15 per cent in 2022.

“This is due to effort by all the stakeholders, including survivors who had been able to come out and speak openly against FGM and its effects, discouraging others from undergoing the same, and parents from forcefully taking their children through it,” noted Kutwa.

Kutwa said that 15 per cent FGM prevalence was still high considering the mandate of the board was to achieve zero tolerance against the vice.

“This is a high percentage, and our vision is to have zero tolerance against FGM in Kenya. This remaining percentage has been occasioned by the secrecy under which FGM is practiced, culture, cross-border FGM, radicalization, and funding. However, we are happy to have partners who have come in to support us,” said the anti-FGM programme manager.

On his part, Laikipia East Deputy County Commissioner Patrick Muli said that FGM was shrouded in secrecy and challenged chiefs and assistant chiefs to create awareness aimed at combating the harmful cultural practices.

“Our chiefs have been sensitised to create awareness against FGM since the government is against it. There are a lot of problems when girls undergo the exercise at a tender age, including early marriages,” said Muli.

He encouraged residents to be vigilant and report any FGM incidents aimed at achieving zero tolerance against the female cut in the county.

The administrator said that the fight against FGM was a collaborative effort and not a government initiative alone to eradicate the harmful cultural practices.

Muli further challenged anti-FGM crusaders in the county to devise innovative strategies that could help in addressing the menace.

By Muturi Mwangi

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