Innovative and community-sensitive strategy needed to combat female genital mutilation – UN
Kenya requires an innovative and community-sensitive strategy to accelerate the abandonment of the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a United Nations official said on Monday.
Werner Schultink, the UN Children and Education Fund (UNICEF) Kenya Representative, said despite the law, most communities are still subjecting young girls secretly into the practice.
“We have to improve on collection of data and dissemination, enhance behavior change and collaborate with religious leaders to enable us to end the vice by 2030 as planned,” Schultink said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
He said that the country has made some strides in recent years, and it requires intensive approaches to help reduce the number further.
“We must shift approaches and listen to the voices of girls and young women as they are the ones that are directly affected,” Schultink noted.
According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) 2014, the country’s national FGM prevalence rate dropped from 27 percent in 2009 to 21 percent.
The Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Sicily Kariuki attributed the success to enforcement of laws against FGM that has been greatly enhanced by the establishment of gender desks in police stations and the training of chosen policemen on gender issues.
Kariuki however reiterated that FGM is the one of the severest forms of Gender Based Violence (GBV), hence the need to fight it to the end.
“Communities that continue to practise the vice secretly through medicalization or under cover of cultural and religious celebrations have to be enlightened to stop the practice,” she noted.
Last year alone, 55 cutters in the country came out in the open to renounce the practice and burnt their paraphernalias. Young men have also come in the open to declare their willingness to marry uncut women.
Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. The practice is found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and within communities from countries in which FGM is common. Djibouti, at 93 percent; Eritrea and Mali, at 89 percent; and Sierra Leone and Sudan, at 88 percent. Almost one in five young girls in sub-Saharan Africa are forced to endure FGM.