Partnerships key to stopping FGM prevalence

The war to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) can be achieved within the next five years if strategic stakeholder partnerships were utilized.

Speaking on behalf of outgoing Ministry of Public Service, Gender and Youth Affairs Principal Secretary (PS), Mwanamaka Mabruki, Director for Gender Based Violence, Luke Nkumbuku acknowledged the role that building bridges between the government and the community plays in eradicating FGM.

FGM is a cultural issue and the Ministry is working with the communities on guidelines on dialogue and will come up with alternative activities to mark rites of passage that are acceptable within the law, said Nkumbuku at a stakeholder’s dialogue conference in Nairobi on Wednesday.

The Anti FGM Board Director, Rev. Connie Kivuti said FGM is a violation of the rights of women and girls to health, security, being free from torture and the right to life and should be treated with the severity it deserves.

FGM causes immediate and long-term health and physical complications and reflects the deep-rooted inequality between the sexes. It constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls, said Kivuti.

She said that further policies needed to be put in place in order to achieve Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals on Gender Equality and on eliminating harmful practices such as forced marriages and FGM.

An anti- FGM crusader and also Ijara MP, Sophia Abdi Noor highlighted the role played by male MPs in enactment of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2011 into law.

She however, noted that regardless of the existence of an Anti -FGM law and board, the fight to end the menace would not achieve notable gains without local leaders such as chiefs being sensitized on its dangers and being empowered to fight the vice at the grass root level.

The Nairobi County Women Representative, Esther Passaris asked for further funding from the national and local government to support the Anti-FGM Board and other community organizations working to eliminate the practice.

She said that the campaign would not be able to reach affected women and girls countrywide without adequate funding and it would continue to be limited to specific villages in affected counties.

Passaris said with reduced donor funding, it was the responsibility of the county and national government to avail funding for community organizations towards the cause.

Source: Kenya News Agency