WGEP Kenya congratulates our newest “Circumcision With Words” graduates who completed our Alternative Rite of Passage (ARP) program and publicly said “No!” to genital mutilation.Held last December 4-9 in Tharaka, Kenya, the ARP gave 263 more girls the opportunity to participate in empowerment workshops and--with the support of their families and communities--publicly say “No!” to the culturally-entrenched practice of genital cutting. This is the most girls to participate in the ARP in any one year!Like a traditional rite of passage ceremony, the girls were “secluded” for a retreat together with mentors and workshop facilitators to discuss topics on health, relationships, personal decision-making, and empowerment. These workshops , which were held in English, Swahili and Kitharaka--the languages commonly spoken in the region--also explored common misconceptions around health and genital cutting, and provided the girls with a support group as they took a stand against the practice. On the last day, family, friends and community members gathered together to celebrate the girls and to publicly support their decision against genital mutilation. Speakers and special guests included Nicholas Nyaga, the chief of the village of Gatue, who was the first village chieftain in the region to prosecute a practitioner of genital cutting. Other speakers, including WGEP Kenya Project Coordinator Aniceta Kiriga, emphasized empowerment for girls, decrying other forms of violence against women and encouraging the community to support their daughters’ education.The ceremony closed with a public declaration against genital cutting, certificates for the graduates, and cake for all the participants and attendees.
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