Kenya: Over 100 Girls Graduate From Alternative Rite of Passage Class in Tharaka

6 December 2019

More than 100 girls, who refused to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) in Tharaka-Nithi County, graduated from an alternative rite of passage programme after a week training.

Speaking during the ceremony that was held at Chiakariga Girls' High School in Tharaka Thursday, Tharaka-Nithi County Commissioner Beverly Opwora said the government will continue to fight FGM, an illegal cultural practice.

Ms Opwora said President Uhuru Kenyatta has a target of eradicating the outdated cultural practice by 2022 and warned administrators, who conspires or compromises with perpetrators, of action.

"President Kenyatta has a target of ending the 'cut' by 2022 and all leaders and Kenyans must join the fight," said Ms Opwora.

The county commissioner expressed concern over parents who are forcing their daughters to undergo the 'cut'. She at the same time lauded those who have embraced the alternative rite of passage.

Five former circumcisers, who embraced change and joined the campaign against the 'cut', were presented during the ceremony.

FGM was outlawed in 1990s, but the practice is still carried out underground in Tharaka-Nithi and Meru counties.

Dozens of mothers and their daughters in Tharaka, Igembe and Tigania are serving jail terms while others have died due to excessive bleeding after undergoing the 'cut'.

Last month, two women from Ntongoni village in Tharaka-Nithi were sentenced to three years imprisonment by a Marimanti court after they pleaded guilty of circumcising each other using a razor blade.

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