The Nation (Nairobi)

8 February 2012

Kenya: Nation Leads in Abandoning Female Cut, Says UN Agency

New York — Kenya has achieved the greatest rate of reduction in female genital mutilation among 15 black African countries, the United Nations Population Fund has announced.

Incidents of female circumcision fell by nearly 16 percent in Kenya from 2003 to 2009, the fund says in a report released on the UN's International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.

The survey also finds that younger women in Kenya are abandoning the practice at a faster rate than females in the same age group in the 14 other countries taking part in a UN-sponsored anti-cutting programme.

There is now a 25 percentage point differential in prevalence of the female cut between Kenyans aged 15-19 and Kenyans aged 40-44, the report finds.

"These encouraging findings show that social norms and cultural practices are changing, and communities are uniting to protect the rights of girls and women," says UN Population Fund director Babatunde Osotimehin.

The report notes that Kenya adopted a Prohibition of FGM Act last October.

It also cites public renunciations of female cutting by the El Chamus elders and by the Pokot community last year.

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