Jones and other participants during men's training
Dear Partner and Friend
Meet Jones from Rigoma Ward, Nyamira county. He is in the mid-50s. He wishes his wife could have more kids. However, it is too risky. After the delivery of his second son, his wife almost died. Up to now, he says he does not know how his family pulled through such devastating moments. He made peace with the decision that he would only have two children. He wanted at least five-just like most of his peers. He can. But he will not. It is too risky. This time, he may lose her, and he cannot imagine a life without his better half. All this time, he never knew the reason for his wife having to give birth through caesarean section two consecutive times. Now he knows. It is because of the monster FGM. Jones is among the 30 male participants who were trained on the health effects of FGM on women and girls which occurred between 24th and 27th in Rigoma and Manga, Nyamira County.
‘As I sat down listening to your teachings, I found myself thinking about painful moments that my wife and I have gone through in the course of our marriage. She had two smooth pregnancies. However, when the time for delivery came, on both occasions, the doctor insisted that she had to go through CS. Because of FGM, she had low chances of having safe deliveries.’
FGM is going down…
There is no doubt that because of anti-FGM advocacy efforts conducted by HFAW is making impacts among the Abagusii community. Going by the high number of men and women publicly proclaiming to ending FGM and committing to take individual responsibility for the same, FGM is about to become a thing of the past.
‘Before this training, I was convinced that when my last born daughter is old enough, she will have to undergo FGM. For a long time, I have considered myself a custodian of culture. However, knowing how and what is done to young, innocent girls in the name of our culture, I regret allowing my first born daughter to go through it and I will never allow another girl to be a victim. I have now become a protector of women and girls. I will mobilize other fathers to do the same’, says Richard.
How fathers are making up for allowing FGM to go on for so long…
Just like Jones, Richard did not know that FGM was harmful to girls and women. He says that he cannot describe what his older daughters experienced. Fathers and daughters rarely discuss such topics. The girls were told that they were just going to visit their grandmother. He and his wife knew that they would be cut. When the girls came back, he never cared to ask them about it. Now he wishes he did.
‘I regret that they had to go through what I have seen. I can only hope that they forgive me. If not for anything, maybe for my ignorance on the psychological and physical effects of FGM. I plan to make it up to them. If not for anything, maybe to salvage the respect and love they accord to me as their father’, Richard remorsefully adds.
The reactions of Jones and Richard are a representation of the feedback we received from the participants during the men’s training. We are hopeful that the next survey by the Kenya Demographic Health Survey will show a significant decrease in the prevalence of FGM in Nyamira and Kisii. Had we not been facing the challenges of mobilizing for resources, we would survey within the regions as HFAW, which would help us to quantitate the impact we have made through your support.
Dear friend and partner, thank you for choosing to walk this journey of transforming the lives of girls and women in our community. Through your support, more girls from the Abagusii are assured of achieving their dreams. Kindly share with your friends and family so that they can know about our work.
Expressions while watching a video of FGM act
HFAW Facilitator,Leah,illustrating effects of FGM
Participants chanting a way forward during a break