Chiefs to blame for failure to curb FGM in Garissa

Written By: Hunja Macharia

Women leaders from Garissa now want Chiefs and their assistants taken to task if they fail to enforce ban on Female Genital Mutilation.

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The leaders claim that failure to curb the practice by law enforcement officers is to blame for the continued cases of FGM and early marriages in the County.

Speaking during the international day on zero tolerance for female genital mutilation, held at a Garissa hotel, the leaders who included Ijara MP Sophia Abdinoor, nominated Senator Falhadha Iman, and her Marsabit counterpart Naomi Waqo called for the empowerment of the administrators.

They said those enforcing the ban must also be protected from intimidation and threats from the community they serve.

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In a 2017 study conducted by UNICEF in project locations in Garissa and wajir, 96 percent of the somali girls and women had undergone the primitive rite of passage.

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In Kenya the prevalence of FGM among Somalis is 94 percent.

Sophia regretted that despite the far reaching negative implications for the emotional well being of girls and women, the community continues to embrace the harmful cultural practice.

“FGM is a violation of the rights of women and girls as it infringes on their right to privacy, dignity, causing pain and harm,” said Sophia.

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Sophia urged young mothers and girls to rise up and say no to FGM because they are the ones who suffer and who feel the pinch.

Senator Iman said she will be tabling a bill in the Senate to compel the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the County Governments to establish and adequately equip sexual and gender based violence care units in all public health facilities.

“The bill will also provide for the treatment and cancelling services to victims of sexual and gender based violence free of charge in all public health facilities.”

“Through this and many other efforts we are going to scale the fight against FGM to new heights. Let us all remain united and focused to end this retrogressive cultural practice,” she said.

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Fellow Senator Naomi called on their elected male counterpart, opinion leaders, elders and clerics to support the war on FGM noting that they cannot be left out.

“This is a collective responsibility and no section of the community should be left out,” she said.

The national theme for this year’s day of zero tolerance on FGM is ‘ending FGM is my responsibility’.

It calls for collective effort by communities including leaders, the Government and development partners to work together to address this harmful practice.



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