20 December 2016

Kenya: Some Husbands in Kericho Forcing Newly Married Women to Undergo Cut, NGO Says

A non-governmental organisation based in Kericho County has said there is need to involve newly married women and their husbands in rural Kenya in the fight against female circumcision.

Friends of Londiani (FOL) Programmes and Operations Manager Mary Kabiru said this is necessary after it emerged that some husbands are forcing their wives to undergo the illegal cut soon after marriage.

This, she said, is ruining efforts by the civil society to train young unmarried girls about the effects of FGM (female genital mutilation).

Ms Kabiru was speaking in Londiani Town in Kipkelion East Constituency at the end of a month-long alternative rite of passage programme for 2,000 girls.

She said that new tactics are being discovered and used by female circumcisers seeking to beat increasing surveillance by anti-FGM organisations in the region and the authorities.

VICTIMS TAKEN TO OTHER COUNTIES

According to her, some of the victims are being taken to the neighbouring counties of Bomet, Narok and Nakuru to undergo the illegal rite after anti-FGM activists, led by FOL, increased efforts to fight the vice in the larger Kipkelion.

"We have learnt, sadly, that some newly married women are bowing to pressure from their husbands and their mothers-in-law to undergo FGM even after we have trained them about its (bad) effects.

"This act of infringement is being done secretly in the counties neighbouring Kericho," said Ms Kabiru.

Ms Kabiru added that since 2009, Friends of Londiani have taken more than 16,000 girls aged between 12 and 16 in Kipkelion through the alternative rite of passage programme.

"Our programme provides girls with a safer, brighter future with more choices and more control. The negative implications of FGM are becoming more widely understood and accepted because of it. We have gained the support of local leaders including chiefs and pastors," she added.

She added that women and girls who have already undergone circumcision have been enjoined into the programme.

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