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UNICEF, anti-FGM board to unveil Digital App for reporting cases

The Kenya Anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) board in partnership with the UNICEF board led a delegation of stakeholders in the fight against FGM in launching Kenya’s digital mobile application called PashaAPP which will be used in reporting and tracking cases of FGM.

The new system will allow users especially those from the Kuria Community to report anonymously unfolding cases of FGM for quick tracking and arrest of the culprits.

This comes only after previous multiple Anti-FGM campaign meetings conducted along the Kenyan-Tanzania border and especially in Migori County, revealed that most of the surrounding population lived in fear of exposing the FGM culprits.

Such meetings also confirmed that the local communities are willing to cooperate with the relevant authorities in sharing information about the perpetrators of the vice but they fear being exposed and risk being in the limelight of those deeply rooted in the outlawed activity.

Late last year, the cross border Anti-FGM campaigners which include local activists, journalists from Kenya and Tanzania, and NGO partners came up with solutions to develop new mechanisms to outsmart the cutters through a developing digital reporting system.

By then, the unidentified system was already up and running in neighbouring Tanzania and could be accessed using a mobile phone, unlike in Kenya where such system was yet to be launched and implemented.

Mr Jackson Onyando, a child protection specialist from UNICEF Kenya, while speaking during the launch of the Pasha Mobile App stated that the launch of the app has come at the right time when children are expected to close schools for long holidays and the anticipated time for the vice to escalate in December.

The official explained that the application is free of charge and can be downloaded directly from the google play store by anyone.

“This application is free of charge and can be used by the community to report any case of FGM anonymously to the people they trust, to the local authorities and the Anti-FGM board,” said Onyando.

However, he noted that plans are underway to have an App which is non-internet based as the current App relies on an internet connection, adding that remote places without internet access will be aided by the use of an SMS platform.

Mr Nyerere Kutwa, a programmes manager at the Anti-FGM board said during the launch that the App will go a long way in addressing various challenges arising from the fight against the vice in the region and it is a step forward in highlighting the cases in real time for action.

This Pasha mobile application is going to complement other existing mechanisms of reporting FGM cases like the 116 and 195 for reporting GBV concerning children and now we have improved on that by launching the pasha application,” he said.

Mr Nyerere outlined that in addition to the launch of the App, the board also got an opportunity to meet various Anti-FGM stakeholders at the grassroots level including community leaders, religious leaders and National Government Administrative Officers (NGAO), to help the sensitization take the application. This will enhance reporting avenues and mechanisms, he concluded.

Migori County Director of Gender, reverend Kenneth Oomo lauded the move of coming up with the Pasha application saying it will help in narrowing down challenges faced in the fight against FGM and also help realize the 2022 goal of ending FGM as directed by former President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“We have had challenges which have hindered us in meeting the set deadline of eradicating the vice in the country. Cross-border FGM practices have been a major challenge as communities are spread along the border,” said Rev. Oomo.

He however said that the methods they have been using on reporting the cases have seen the fight against the vice rise to a percentage of 70, stressing that the inclusion of elders has been key to escalating the war against the vice.

The Kuria youth anti-FGM network representative Mr Vincent Mwita stated that they are looking forward to rallying more young people and training the more on internet skills on reporting any cases of FGM.

He added that they are looking forward to sharing the pasha application across the border with youths in neighbouring Tanzania to help in the faster spread of its adoption.

“As Kuria youths, we are going to share this Pasha mobile App with youths from Tanzania our close neighbours who are also in the race to champion the eradication of this vice,” noted Mwita.

By Polycarp Ochieng and George Agimba


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