Cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) have increased in Kenya following the global COVID-19 pandemic, Gender and Public Service Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rachel Shebesh has said.
Shebesh regretted that the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted on government programmes that had led to the decrease of the vice.
“Because we are in this situation where people are being urged to stay at home due to the virus, we have noticed that in some of the areas where we had progressed against FGM we’re now regressing since the retrogressive practise is being carried on at the confines of homes,” Shebesh said.
Speaking in Nanyuki town where she oversaw the issuance of Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) cheques to various local women groups, Shebesh added that her ministry had revised its approach to curb the vice and would visit all the 22 counties where FGM is rife, among them Laikipia and ensure that government administration would reinforce the message that the practice is bad and arrest those found practising it.
“We have arrested many people practising the FGM, administrators condoning it and rescued many young girls who were going to be married off at a young age.FGM is still however very rife,” she said.
The CAS further observed that cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) were on the rise as couples stayed at home due to COVID-19, but added that the government was in the process of setting up rescue centres across the country for GBV victims.
Laikipia Governor Nderitu Muriithi who accompanied the CAS during the function urged the women and youths in the area to apply for WEF and Youth Enterprise Funds (YEF) from the national government to advance their business ventures.
“We have noticed with concern that the uptake of these interest-free funds from the government in Laikipia is very low yet they are meant to assist in business startups in rural areas for our women and the youth. Let’s embrace them for business support,” Governor Muriithi said referring to the WEF.
The CAS and the Governor also inspected the ongoing rehabilitation of the Nairobi-Nanyuki railway line at the Nanyuki terminus.
The Ksh 3 billion rehabilitation works of the metre gauge railway line is expected to be complete by end of this month with Kenya Railways having already injected Ksh 1 billion while the rest is being provided by the National government.