Covid-19 brought Lockdowns and curfews to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, it has fueled an upsurge in gender-based violence across the geographical area of our Jurisdiction where we do Anti-FGM/C campaign. There are cases of women and girls getting more isolated and vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. There are no official statistics on the number of cases of violence against women and girls in villages of Tharaka Nithi, Embu , Meru and informal settlement where we operate but calls to our help lines have surged more than 15-fold since lockdown and curfew measures were imposed in mid March in Kenya increasing tensions within the home, noting that gender-based violence had increased, mental health issues had worsened, and instances of teenage pregnancy had escalated.
Social and economic strains compounded by strict limits on movement have not only made women and girls been more prone to FGM/C but also to physical and sexual exploitation and violence with increase in forced child marriages in exchange of dowry to cushion families from economical crises. This has reversed our already made gains in stopping FGM/C. To continue with our Anti FGM/C campaign in these villages we need to raise more money and partner with like minded organizations and individuals to sensitize the communities on dangers of FGM/ C through workshops organized at grassroots level.
Already domestic violence has increased drastically due to COVID-19 because of loss of jobs and frustration. Family are now turning to FGM/C economy. Girls in our geographical area are CUT so that they get married in exchange of dowry. Girls in our culture are seen as a source of wealth to the girl family and clan. FGM/C will be in increase because many families want their girls CUT early to be given away to a bridegroom who will bring dowry to the family and clan of the girl. Many girls will be at risk of early marriage for the same reason of being a cashcows for the families. Many girls are brainwashed by cultural beliefs to pride in being CUT to get married in exchange of dowry
To counter increase in FGM/C during this COVID-19 Pandemic we have embarked on a number of measures.
Sensitizing community members on rights of women and danger exposed to girls if they are Cut.
Create a movement of stakeholders within the community to mobilize more leaders within the community to protect girls and women from FGM/C.
Community members to be educated that girls and women are not part of family property to be used for gainful means through batter trade inform of dowry this will be done through Media, workshops, family gathering and through local and clan leaders.
Partnering with Government to implement The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2011 which criminalizes the FGM/C..
Empower women movement at grassroot level through capacity building to speak against FGM/C.
Lobbying the government leaders those elected in positions of power to support volunteers and community social workers in eradicating fgm/c through allocating funds at sub national level for the task of Ending FGM/C.
Use of helpline and social networks like whatapp and twiter to report cases of FGM/C before they happen or after so that the case may be followed and a law to take place.
To educate young girls from early age about FGM/C dangers so that they know their rights and say no to FGM/C.
Empower youths through training about their rights and their roles in protecting the rights of women within the community.
Empower Uncut girls to reject being discriminated and stigmatized and stand up for their rights and claim them and to find their space in the community.
Families to embrace education, farming and other sources of income and stop counting girls as source of wealth through accepting dowry.
Sensitize the population that FGM/C can expose girls to COVID-19 through contact with mutilators and parents should not allow their girls to be exposed to that danger.
During this pandemic we will use loudspeakers mounted on vehicles to reach villagers from their homes or use the current allowed 15 people workshops. Incase the ban will not be uplifted. We shall adhere to government regulation.
Lastly we shall come up with tailor made initiatives instead of FGM/C where girls Cut a red ribbon instead of Cut in their bodies. If gap is left it has shown that those girls are cut when they get married because the community want that rite of passage as part of their heritage. Our red ribbon campaign has bridged the gap.
We seek to engage the whole community to end FGM and any form of violence against women through working with men, elders and indigenous groups and hold separate meetings for women and girls to educate them on the risks of FGM. FGM being the worst form of violence against women we wish to end FGM at a family and village level through convincing people of its dangers in a well thought out and thorough manner that will change attitudes in the long term. By setting up representatives with mobile phones and advertising the numbers as Anti FGM helplines we would be able to help girls and women access information, receive assistance in cases of coercion or when FGM has been carried out, without these women having to face potentially hostile authority figures or having any stigma attached to themselves cases of FGM go unreported.. We also seek to be able to collect accurate information on the occurrence of FGM and use this information to lobby local and national leaders to create more effective policies for combating FGM. Girls will be informed of the dangers of FGM and that they should not be subjected to FGM/CUT. We will seek to ensure that men and boys are sensitized to the consequences of FGM for women to help to de-stigmatise girls who have not under gone FGM. Girls who are not cut face segregation from family to village level whereby they cannot shake adds with elderly or fetch water together with other cut girls. Cut girls are not allowed to play with uncut girls. This is what happens in remote villages of Tharaka Nithi , Embu and Meru. Young men are advised not to marry uncut girls by the elderly and when married they are considered anathema and insult to the ancestors. Our workshops will de-stigmataze the girls by giving them alternative rite of passage this is to make sure they will not bow to pressure and coercion and face the blade. We are focused to see individuals from marginalized groups reached by the project become active in advocating for SRHR and men and boys are active advocating for SRHR for women and are actively involved in advocacy for women rights at grassroots level. We are determined to replace FGM with alternative rite of passage which we invented "Red Ribbon Campaign" we have also come up with tailor made approaches where families sign a "legal document" to commit themselves they will not cut girls in their families and they will accept uncut girls to be married in their families and they will not be Cut. This initiative is meant to End FGM patriarchal incarnations once and once for all by breaking it backbone. Before the families sign the document to end the FGM in their generation they are trained first and educated on scientific and health related problems caused by the Cut to women and girls. they are made to understand legal aspects of it. Many families don't know it's a crime to mutilate girls so our grassroots workshops we educate the villagers and families on the topics health and law.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.
Get Reports via Email
We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.