Change approach on fight against FGM, NGOs

Two Non-Governmental Organizations in Narok County want the government to educate residents on the dangers of practicing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) instead of just punishing the culprits.

The organizations dubbed ‘Safe Maa’ and ‘Maa Trust’ based in the County said FGM has been practiced in the community for many years, therefore it was important to educate the residents for them to understand why they should stop the outdated practice.

Safe Maa’ Manager Amos Leuka said they have launched a grassroots campaign where they were involving cultural leaders and educating them on the need to abolish the practice while upholding other community traditions.

Female circumcision has been happening in Maa-speaking communities and other communities across the country. As a country, we have anti-FGM laws and several organizations fighting the vice but it is still continuing, said Leuka.

Leuka, who was speaking at a workshop held in a Narok hotel Monday, alleged that most locals did not understand why the practice was outlawed and viewed the government as an ‘outsiders’ in such community issues.

The previous approach to the vice has not succeeded in most areas because the anti-Female Genital Cut crusaders have been using ‘harsh’ language such as barbaric, backward and retrogressive thus harming the war against the vice, he continued.

He therefore urged the policy makers to omit the word ‘mutilation’ while describing female circumcision, saying it was rude, in bad taste and has been the reason why the circumcising communities were opposed to ending the vice.

Leuka also asked the government to involve cultural leaders who were the custodians of the community traditions saying by so doing, the vice would significantly drop and eventually end.

Through the non-judgmental approach, the practice will be prevented rather than the reactive part where the law enforcers arrest the culprits after the practice is done, he said.

Director of ‘Maa Trust’ Ms. Seleiyian Partoip said it was only local solutions that would end the outdated practice in the area.

The Maa community feels bitter when ‘outsiders’ come and condemn the vice. They feel belittled and revenge by continuing with the practice but with locals who understand their dialect, we are empowering them on the need to leave the cut and continue with other parts of the culture, she reiterated.

Source: Kenya News Agency