Female genital mutilation is passed from one generation to the next generation like a baton in a relay race. However, this can end in one generation if the generation is empowered to stop the harmful practice.
“My mother is from Kisii ethnic group while my father is from Luhya ethnic group in Kenya and Luhyas do not cut their girls and women. I remember the incidence happened during one of August holiday when I visited my grandmother in our Kisii rural home. One day she told me she will take me somewhere in the evening. I was excited but little did I know she was to take me for a cut. This happened in the night at 10.00p.m “, shared Kerubo* in one of our school outreaches.
Kerubo’s case was sensitive because her grandmother had lured her into being mutilated without her knowledge or even the knowledge of her parents. The incidence led to her mother being battered and chased away by the husband when he came to know about it. Kerubo’s cut led to an infection that had to be treated in hospital. This is how the father came to know that the daughter had been cut. He blamed Kerubo’s mother for not ‘taking care’ of their daughter due to the fact that she was not there to prevent their daughter from undergoing FGM.
“Will my performance in school be affected due to the fact that I was cut? what about my menstruation, is it true that it will it take longer than usual since I am cut?” She asked. We were keen to assure her that all will be well and that her performance will improve as long as she works hard in school. We assured her that through emotional support and the training she would soar to greater heights and heal emotionally. The above questions were a clear indicator of the myths and facts surrounding FGM and which could easily affect self esteem of a growing youth.
The youth trainees in primary school were keen to understand that it was up to them to say no to FGM as they are the future generation. “I now understand that if I say no to FGM and help my sisters not to undergo the same, I will be a great Anti-FGM ambassador”, said one of the boys at the end of the outreach session. “I will never allow my daughter to go through the cut, thank you Hope Foundation for African Women for the sensitization”, said one of the teachers.
HFAW has so far reached over 14 primary schools and sensitized over 5,000 pupils, over 500 parents and over 100 teachers on child protection and child abuse and GBV with a focus on FGM. Both the boys and girls, women and men agreed that they are consumers of FGM and it directly affects them.
In addition to reaching primary schools HFAW aims to recruit 50 youth ambassadors in churches and in youth groups. Each youth will also reach 50 more youth with Anti-FGM messages. The youth in Nyamira county are vibrant and very active learners, from our experience, they grasp issues easily and embrace change rapidly. We therefore appeal to your partnership through your kind donation that will enable us train these vibrant youth anti-FGM ambassadors in Nyamira County to take part in ending FGM in one generation. Thank you for your support and being with us every step of the way as we strive to end FGM.
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