Cherish Others Organisation was active in supporting girl child education and sensitising them and their parents on personal hygiene, children's rights and Facts, Effects and Consequences of Female Genital Mutilation. Thirty girls attended the seminar.
A seminar was held for thirty parents who were put through a session of anti FGM and issues surrounding how they could generate income to support their families. Cherish Others intends to work hand in hand with these families so that they could allow their children continue with education than to rely on dowry that would be received from them if they put them through early marriages.
Cherish Others is grateful to all the partners from Global Giving who contributed generously towards the aforementioned achievements.
Female Genital Mutilation continues in kenya even though the practice has been declared illegal in Kenya. The practice is currently being perpertrated by private practitioners who perform the operations in secret with the cooperation of the victim and their parents, usually the mother of the girl.
Cherish Others Organisation Kenya embarked on an aggressive campaign to sensitise school pupils on the harmfulness of FGM. Eight schools were reached and a total of three hundred and forty two pupils were reached in Trans Mara. The pupils expressed shock and surprise when they learnt how FGM operations were carried out and the negative effects of the practice and were even more shocked when they saw some of the instruments that were used for genital cutting. The pupils got to learn of the upcoming Alternative Rites of Passage program scheduled for April 8th to 12th and registered to be included in the session.
During the period under review home visits were made to homes with girls who were at risk of being put through FGM. Twenty six homes were visited and fifteen girls were identified who would be taken for the alternative rites of passage seminar scheduled for April 2015. The parents of the girls were sensitised about the harmfulness of the practice and therefore agreed to let the girls participate in the seminar, a positive move.
A women's seminar was held which reached out to twenty five women and educated them on the process involved, effects and that not all women in the world went through FGM, yet they were successfully fulfiling their roles as women in the societies that they came from.
Cherish Others remains grateful to the GlobalGiving community for the continued support and cooperation.
The Masai woman is faced with multiple challenges caused by women marginalization which include Female Genital Mutilation and child marriages. As soon as a girl attains 11 to 13 years of age she goes through Female Genital Mutilation and married off immediately, most probably, in a polygamous set up. By the age of 15 years, the girl is not only a wife but also a mother.
In view of the aforementioned problems Cherish Others introduced Alternative rite of Passage seminars Program which is conducted every April, August and November in order to change the attitudes of not only the girls themselves but also of their parents so as the whole community may deem fit the need to empower girls and nurture them to acquire skills and knowledge to attain self actualization and benefit the community as a whole.
REGISTERING AND MONITORING GIRLS AT RISK
Registration of girls at risk of going through FGM was conducted both in the office and while on field visits, an exercise which went on throughout October and November 2014. Such field visits entailed giving an emphatic talk on education for the girl and shunning FGM to the girls’ parents so that they could allow the girls to attend seminar. 50 girls were registered to undergo the Alternative Rite of Passage in November. 11 parents declined and even became very hostile towards the mobilisers.
CONDUCTING AN ALTERNATIVE RITES OF PASSAGE CEREMONY
An alternative rites of passage ceremony was organized for 50 girls to provide them with social support and factual information concerning the harmfulness of FGM.
The ceremony involved a 3 days training of facts about FGM and other traditional rites and their harmfulness to the society. The training incorporated the useful messages given to the girls who are circumcised in a traditional ritual, during the isolation period after they are circumcised such as assuming adult roles, prevention of pregnancies before marriage and upholding family stability. Only that this happens without the cutting off of the girls’ genitals.
At the start of seminar all the girls are given opportunity to give a short story about themselves, experiences on FGM and their expectations of the seminar. Sample expectations included:
The topics actually covered in the seminar were as follows:
The participants said that many girls in their community accepted to go through Female Genital Mutilation because they were afraid of not getting husbands when they grew up and that many feared losing their parents’ support if they knew they did not want to go through the ‘cut’. The seminar was very interactive as the girls, asked many questions regarding female genital mutilation and also expressed that they were under pressure from both their peers and parents.
They appreciated the fact Cherish Others Organisation had come to their rescue since some of them were at a ripe age for marriage.
In the evenings the girls watched video shows on HIV/AIDS and life skills.
Cherish Others realized that parents were reluctant to allow their children to go for the anti FGM seminars. This, Cherish Others learnt, was because if their girls refused to go through FGM they would not go away and get married and they were not willing/not able to put them through schooling.
Cherish Others expresses heartfelt gratitude to The partners of the GlobalGiving who selected and supported our project. The project was able to reach out to 50 girls and all their parents including making follow up visits to 200 homes. This was a commendable achievement for the partnership which aims at changing the attitudes of the community members so that the community can regard the girl child as an equal to the boy child and therefore give her the requisite attention.
An Alternative rite of passage ceremony was conducted for thirty girls.
The ceremony involved a three (3) days training of facts about FGM and other traditional rites and their harmfulness to the society. The training incorporated useful information like that which was given to the girls in a traditional girls’ circumcision ritual referred to as the isolation period. Normally during this time, they would learn how to assume adult roles, prevent pregnancies before marriage, how to treat their husbands and upholding family stability. The big difference between the two is that in an alternative rite of passage ceremony the importance of seeking a good formal education was emphasized and more significantly the girls did not go through the cut. In the seminar the girls were allowed to express themselves regarding their sexuality and ambitions. At the end of the ceremony, the girls were awarded with certificates of participation.
Also, Cherish Others held an ANTI FGM seminar for a group of fifty women. The training also saw the participation of three traditional birth attendants and one reform circumcisor.
Reasons why FGM was practiced:
The participants cited the following as the reasons why FGM continued to be practiced within the Masai community:• Rite of passage from childhood to adulthood• Marriageability• To fit within the age group and society• To avoid isolation from others• due to pressure by the culture• To win their parents' love • It was during circumcision that the girls were educated on how to become good mothers and wives.• For recognition or prestige• To avoid future isolation• To gain respect from the community• Some were put through circumcision without their consent particularly in moments of child delivery by the traditional birth attendants.
The group was taken through a rigorous session of defining FGM and the various types of FGM; The effects of FGM and the implications of FGM and as a way Forward the participants resolved that
a. They would stop FGM practiceb. Encourage their girls to go to schoolc. To encourage expectant mothers to give birth in hospitals whenever possible
Cherish Others would like to express heartfelt gratitude to our partners from the GlobalGiving Community for their partnership in this project of fighting FGM in the Masai Community.
An Empowerment seminar for thirty women was conducted in Kilgoris town so that they could be educated on FGM and its effects on its victims.The women participated fully with enthusiasm and gave their contribution without hesitation.Conclusions were made as follows;1. Traditional Ceremonies for instance moranism encouraged young men to marry girls who have been put through FGM. 2. Traditional Birth attendants insisted on circumcising women who are not circumcised while giving birth.3. Circumcisers insist that they also earn from doing the genital cutting4. Polygamy:- Other women in the marriage ostracised the uncircumcised girl.5. Early Marriages implied that the family acquires wealth at minimal cost of upbringing the child. 6. Poverty: - Parents said they did not have money to pay for the girls’ school fees.7. Ignorance: Many of the community members did not have knowledge of better living. They did not know that girls were entitled to education and employment opportunities just as boys did.Way Forward The participants came up with the following as strategy for the anti FGM campaign• Continuous sensitization• Promote education for the girl child• Emphasis on spiritual awakening, spiritual guidance among couples, and the youth• Promote life skills education• Economic Empowerment to reduce poverty- Income generating activities in our community so as to enable them pay school fees for their girls
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