Anti-FGM campaign: a complex undertaking

The Girl Generation, a social change communications initiative, supported by UKAid could consider Kenya for grants to boost its Anti-FGM campaign in April or May 2018.

Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell, Global Director of The Girl Generation, said the organization had supported many African countries to end the vice, and 49 organizations fighting Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Kenya had already benefited.

She was speaking during panel discussions at a three-day National Conference on FGM that entered its second day in Nairobi Wednesday.

The complexity in campaigning against FGM in Kenya manifested during discussions, as various stakeholders involved in the campaign recounted their achievements and challenges that generated controversial reactions from delegates.

Mwangi-Powell noted that ‘the people who practice FGM are the people with the power to end it,’ adding that the youth must be enjoined in the campaign because of the power they have to end the vice.

World Vision’s National Coordinator Gender and Disability, Phiona Koyiet said that through the Social Convention Theory that professes ‘walking with the community,’ campaign agents against FGM are able to circumvent possible backlash for perceived attack against a culture that a community holds dear.

FGM is very personalized, and the campaign against it should be approached as such, she observed, adding that household targeting and community dialogue involving not more than 15 people is more effective.

Dr. Meshack Ndirangu, the Country Director, Amref Health Africa in Kenya said FGM is a complex issue connected to the family fabric, hence the need for partnerships to eradicate it.

He said corporate problems require solutions at various levels, noting that Amref has adopted a three-pronged approach that combines Education, Community, and Legal or Policy Interventions.

Ndirangu stated that for partnerships to work, they must be centered on communities and driven by communities.

Assistant Representative for UNFPA, Judith Kunyiha observed that there is always safety in numbers while dealing with delicate issues.

If you talk against a culture that people hold dear your head could be gnashed. So, get more people to talk so that there are many heads to gnash. Create a movement, and that is what partnership is all about, said Kunyiha

She said UNFPA’s contribution towards fighting FGM include Policy Engagement on issues related to FGM, Capacity Building on law and its enforcement, Knowledge Management through documenting and sharing lessons, and Service Delivery in innovative approaches such as alternative rites of passage.

Prof. Guyo Jaldesa of Africa Coordinating Center for the Abandonment of FGM noted that FGM has no benefits at all, adding that it is invasive physically and emotionally.

He stated that the vice violates the fundamental principle of ‘do no wrong,’ human dignity and human rights.

Chairperson of the Nursing Council of Kenya, Edna Tallam observed that nurses are the most trusted people in the community and need to be actively involved in advocacy.

She said those abetting FGM were not only breaking the law but were also guilty of professional misconduct.

The CEO, Anti-FGM Board, Bernadette Loloju said the Board plays a coordinating role to ensure that partners work in synergy, to guard against community fatigue. She urged any partner joining the campaign against FGM in Kenya to consult the Board.

Loloju revealed that despite the limited resources that the Board is operating with, a lot of support has come from partners.

Ijara Member of Parliament, Sophia Abdi Noor promised to lobby for more resources for the Board through the available government initiatives.

Source: Kenya News Agency