End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya

by Hope Foundation for African Women (HFAW)
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End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
Gachuba Youths Listening during a session
Gachuba Youths Listening during a session

 Dear Partner and Friend
It is wonderful to speak to you again. First and foremost, receive greetings from Hope Foundation for African Women members. We hope that you and your loved ones are fairing on well.


For the past month, we have been conducting community outreach programs. We would like to assure you that we have been following all the guidelines put forth by the government of Kenya to prevent the spread of the Corona Virus. That being said, we visited Gachuba, in Nyamira County, Kenya, to amplify the voices of the youths in creating change in the community.


The outreach in the region was informed by recent reports from the mainstream media which showed that there are increased cases of FGM since the government of Kenya ordered the temporary closure of schools as a measure to control the spread of Covid-19. Thus, together with trained health and human rights promoters, we conducted a full-day outreach where we interacted with at least 50 youths from the area.


 Some of the key messages during the training were the health effects of FGM, calling out for the end of Gender-Based Violence, protecting children from abuse, and holding the local leadership accountable for the social, political, and economic development of the community.


 We are grateful for the support that you have given us since the launch of this project. Times are tough for us because our resources are depleting. Sadly, we are staring at a gloomy future with regards to finding enough resources to conduct our outreaches. We ask you to stand with us and support us in any way you can so that we achieve the goal of ending female genital mutilation in Kenya.

Discussion time during the session
Discussion time during the session
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HFAW CHHRP during a session with the students
HFAW CHHRP during a session with the students

Dear Friend and Partner

I trust you are keeping safe. We are living at uncertain times because of the outbreak of the Corona Virus Disease. We are hopeful that we will defeat this disease together and come out stronger. We would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation for your generosity in remembering the girls who are at risk of undergoing FGM. Indeed, as the disease persists, we get worried about the girls who are now within their homes without anyone to remind the parents and community members not to subject the girls to FGM. However, we are grateful for the support you have shown to our girls. Through your efforts, our community health and human rights promoters can create awareness on the need to end FGM and keep girls safe.

Over the past two months, we did school outreaches in four schools; Don Bosco, Hillview Complex, Don Bosco, Hillview Complex, Ritongo primary school, and Nyakongo primary school. In total, we reached 1107 students, teachers, and parents.  The children reached were between 12 and 15 years.  They were taught on the importance of abstaining from sex and resisting the pressure of undergoing FGM. We are excited to report that the outreaches were very successful, and we look forward to more forums to engage with the younger generations on their health and safety.  However, as we mentioned previously that the holidays are typically the ideal time parents and cutters subject girls to FGM, we are worried that the children may be at the most risk for FGM.  It is because of the decision by the government of Kenya to temporarily close schools because of the Corona Virus that took effect in mid-march. Already, there are reports by mainstream media in Kenya that cases of FGM are beginning to rise. 

Our school and other group activities slowed down due to government announcement of lockdown, and curfews resulting from covid 19. However we continue to inform the public through social media and other traditional media such as local radio stations. Your contributions this time is more important than ever before. Please continue reaching out to your friends and relatives on our behalf. Again, thank you.

In this report, we have attached an audio clip of some of HFAW's recent work covered on Radio Citizen, Kenya.  In the audio clip that is recorded in the Gusii language, Gladys, HFAW community and healthcare workers, is urging community members not to subject girls to  FGM. Also, she is teaching them how to maintain healthy relationships with the children like ensuring they spend enough time on direct interactions with the children instead of on phone. Generally, the program reached 40,000 people in Kenya. 

Yours sincerely

Students are attentive whil learning their rights
Students are attentive whil learning their rights

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Karen, HFAW's CHHRP, training on FGM effects
Karen, HFAW's CHHRP, training on FGM effects

Dear Friend and Partner

Happy new year!

First, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you a prosperous 2020. As we begin this new year and decade, we look forward to progress in the protection of women's and girls’ rights. Girls’ rights are human rights, and we are committed to proving this through our advocacy for the end of FGM through this projects. 

Typically, the holiday season presents an ideal leeway for cutters to subject girls to FGM. They are lured through non-existent visits to the grandmother and promised gifts after undergoing a ‘special’ ceremony. After this, they are asked not to tell anybody about it lest they are shunned by their loved ones. Therefore, we saw it essential to create awareness among fathers on the effects of FGM. We trained 50 fathers on the effects of FGM with the help of our community health and human  rights promoters, Karen, Lydia, and Gladys. It was more than we had hoped for. Motivation for us and eye-opening for the participants.

‘I regret that I pushed my wife to take my daughters for the cut. After what I have learned, I feel pain even up to my soul for having upheld such a belief. Now I see that I committed an offence. I can only plead with my fellow fathers, especially young fathers, not to support FGM’, said James.

‘I appreciate that this training came at this moment when there are speculations that some parents are planning to take their daughters for the cut. As a pastor, I have tried my best to persuade the congregants to shun support for FGM. Today I am happy that you have reinforced the anti-FGM messages that other good-will members of this community have been spreading’, said Ocharu

The training was so succesful that the HFAW team was honored with a tree-planting session. As the trees grow, we hope that efforts for ending FGM will equally lead to the best outcomes. 

This project targets ending female genital mutilation among the school-going girls. Fathers protect and care for their daughters. They prevent their daughters from being harmed. We are happy that the fathers understood how FGM is not a belief that should be upheld longer. We are excited that we received support from these fathers who promised to continue urging other men who could not attend the training to end FGM.

December is marked as a high-risk period for FGM by anti-FGM organizations and activists. Thus, we are glad that your support enabled us to reach these fathers who help end FGM in schools. Because of you, a girl is safe to begin her school year knowing that no one will subject her to FGM. From this, we are optimistic that FGM will significantly reduce this year. You are making a change in our community, and we ask you to share our work with your friends so that they can see the fantastic work you are doing.

Team planting a tree to marka successful session
Team planting a tree to marka successful session
Mr Ocharu issuing his views on the effects of FGM
Mr Ocharu issuing his views on the effects of FGM
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Children giving their views on the effects of FGM
Children giving their views on the effects of FGM

Dear Friend and partner

We are happy and humbled that you continue to support the project to End Female Genital Mutilation in our community. Courtesy of your support, we visited Sotik Highlands Primary School, Nyamira, on 29th August 2019. We are happy to report to you the impact you made in our community by giving to this project.

The theme of the event was- Empowering teenagers and young people to take up leadership and initiative in ending FGM, Drug Abuse, prevent spread of HIV/AIDS among young generation and economic empowerment of young adults through talents and advocacy for a better and bright Nyamira. The event reached 106 school-going children, 144 youths, and 27 adults. The event was carried through having open discussions on the health effects of FGM, possible ways that youths can use to put an end to the misogynist practise, and request to parents, political leaders, and the general community to join advocacy for the end of FGM.

Among the invited and present guest who shared with the participants were, HFAW members. LBTI members, Highlands Primary Schools Head-teacher and teachers, area Sub-Chief, the representative form MCA’s office, the representative from Gender office-Madam Beatrice, a representative from Children Services office, from Ministry of Youth affairs- Erick and field officer for ADRA, many more.

' I know that it is a painful thing done to young girls. I do not like it when other people are hurt', Collins, (Not his real name), answered when asked about what he knows about FGM. The sesssion was fruitful in gauging and spreading knowledge on the effects of FGM. 

‘Before this meeting, I did not know much about FGM except that it is done on girls and that any girl who has not gone through it is rejected by our community. Now I know that it is harmful and lacks benefits. I plan to spread the message to my friends who lack this information. Hopefully, they can help the organization in ending FGM in Kisii and Nyamira’, David, a youth from the Sotik high-lands area.

“We are grateful to HFAW from bringing this event to Sotik Highlands primary school. As teachers, we need help to keep children safe from harmful practises like FGM is prevalent in this region. FGM affects girls and interferes with their concentration and performance in academics. We urge our parents to stop holding on to the practice’, Rose, a teacher at Sotik Highlands primary school.

The day was carried on with activities- football (girls and boys), Pathfinders’ matching, chess/draft and athletics, reading competition, poetry; Children’s assembly called, Say-T; Music from the Girl living with disability(brother and sister both blind), Traditional dances, open discussions and speeches from key speakers and finally awarding of the winners. This training was possible because of you, our partner and friend. We are creating awareness, impacting children, young adults, and the general community with knowledge, and promoting the protection of children’s rights because of your kind donations. We humbly request you to help us complete this journey. Continue sharing our work with your friends and family.

Thank You 

Smiles and dancing after acquiring knowledge
Smiles and dancing after acquiring knowledge
HFAW Acting CEO, Leah, addressing the students
HFAW Acting CEO, Leah, addressing the students
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students from St. Andrews, Nyasore, engaging
students from St. Andrews, Nyasore, engaging

Dear friend and partner Over the past few months, there has been a tough crackdown on the people subjecting girls to FGM in Kenya. We are happy that there have been positive outcomes from this crackdown. Unfortunately, if the report by Times Live towards the end of the year 2018 is anything to go by, there is a new trend of cross border-FGM. Girls from the Kuria and Maasai communities. The article reveals that the intense crackdown on FGM in Kenya has led to ‘vacation cutting’ of girls from Kenya in Tanzania and Uganda. The government of Kenya criminalized FGM in 2011 through the Anti-FGM Act. Anyone found to have played any role in subjecting a girl to undergo FGM faces imprisonment for at least three years. Also, the offence attracts a fine of up to $2000. In 2016 the East Africa Community (which includes Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda) enacted the East African Community Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act (EAC Act) to promote cooperation in the prosecution of perpetrators of FGM through harmonisation of laws, policies and strategies to end FGM across the region. However, implementation of this regional law how not been effective. One would think that such strict measures would discourage practising communities from subjecting girls to FGM and reduce its prevalence. Unfortunately, that is not the case. On the contrary, according to human rights activists quoted by the article, cross border-FGM is the new headache for advocacy. Cross border FGM indicates that the act is more about conformity to culture and obligation to pass it from one generation to another. It is based on the deep-rooted belief that a girl is not complete without undergoing FGM. It’s about fear, and it adversely affects girls even when it should not happen in this era of outpouring support for the protection of children’s rights. There is no available data showing trends of cross-border FGM. However, should the reports on emergence of cross-border FGM be true, then it creates a new challenge for anti-FGM activists. ‘The reports could be true. Being that Kisii borders Kuria in Migori, there is a need for equally anti-FGM efforts to be put in Kuria to avoid girls being taken from Kisii to Kuria for transportation to neighbouring countries: As we intensify our anti-fgm advocacy here in Kisii, through school-outreaches and community trainings, the children are becoming more aware of their rights and parents reached out publically declaring to end fgm. However, as we are yet to reach out to every corner of Kisii region, those that get to hear about anti-fgm law, without understanding the health effects, tend to take their children on vacation to other community or across the border to be cut. With assumption and perception that “across the border, or across the other community”, the law is not effectively implemented” says Leah Wandera, HFAW anti-FGM activists. The Abagusii community lives within the Nyanza region. One of the counties in Nyanza is Migori which borders Tanzania. The distance between Migori and Sirare, which is the Kenya-Tanzania border, is 134 kilometres. Apart from Migori also being home to the Kuria community, that has highest rate of FGM in Kenya, it takes approximately three hours on the road for one to travel from Nyamira to the Migori. Meaning, girls in Kisii are equally at high risk of cross-border FGM. ‘This means that our neighbours should put in more efforts to end FGM so that we have a strong advocacy rate’, adds Leah Wandera. The United Nations reports that at least two hundred million girls in the world have undergone FGM. The number accounts for only reported cases. We believe that it could be more if cross-border FGM is considered. We also believe that this is a wake-up call to the governments, child protection agencies, and human rights activists. Dear friend and partner, due to our advocacy efforts , many men have publicly declared to support the end of FGM https://web.facebook.com/hopefaw.org/videos/651142331963063/ and https://web.facebook.com/hopefaw.org/videos/362565791115132/. In the first video, Mr. Richard Mange’ro is remorseful that his first daughter had to go through FGM. However, after going through HFAW training, he has promised to protect not only two remaining daughters but also his neighbours’. This wonderful progress is possible because of your kind contributions. Thank you and may you continue supporting our work and sharing our profile with your friends so that they too can be part of making the world a safer place for girls from the Abagusii community.

Participants having during HFAW training
Participants having during HFAW training
A web of ideas on how to protect girls from FGM
A web of ideas on how to protect girls from FGM

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Organization Information

Hope Foundation for African Women (HFAW)

Location: Nairobi, Kiambu County - Kenya
Website:
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Twitter: @HFAW2015
Project Leader:
Dr. Grace Bonareri Mose Okong'o
Nairobi, Nairobi County Kenya
$12,496 raised of $15,000 goal
 
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$2,504 to go
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