Kenya: Major Boost for Anti-FGM War in Tharaka Nithi

The war on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Tharaka Nithi County is set to receive a boost after the county assembly adopted an Anti-FGM policy.

The document sponsored by Mugwe Ward representative and the Youth, Sports, Culture and Social Services Committee Chairman Mr Denis Mutwiri, recommend a raft of measures including the formation of the Ward Anti-FGM Policy committees to spearhead the fight from the village level.

It also allows the county government to allocate funds for facilitating the war against the outdated cultural practice that deals a great blow to health, social and economic welfare of the girl child and the society at large.

The policy also recommends setting up a digital information management system to aid in research and analysis of the Anti-FGM war progress.

Speaking while tabling the document at the chambers, Mr Mutwiri said without the legal policy, Governor Muthomi Njuki-led government could not be able to allocate funds towards FGM activities.

"With the adoption of this policy, the county government in collaboration with other players in the sector should start with sensitisation exercise on the evils of FGM and why the community should shift to the alternative rite of passage," said Mr Mutwiri.

Psychological support

He said the county government and other public and private institutions must fully participate in the fight against FGM to eradicate it by 2022 as projected.

The policy also seeks to ensure victims of FGM and child abuse receive the necessary medical treatment and psychological support, and are served with justice.

It also recommends strengthening the existing multi-sectoral organisations involved in the fight against the vice.

Cases of FGM are rampant in Tharaka North, Tharaka South, Igambang'ombe and some parts of Maara sub-counties.

Corrupt officials

Despite jailing perpetrators of the illegal cut for several years, the outdated cultural practice goes on albeit secretly.

County Commissioner Beverly Opwora, says girls as young as 10 years and married women undergo circumcision.

Some administrators, especially chiefs and their assistants are corrupted to protect FGM perpetrators, while others even attend the initiation ceremonies.

In some areas, family members and the villagers discriminate against uncircumcised girls and married women, compelling them to undergo the cut.

The uncircumcised are denied a chance to join women groups, while the uncut girls can't fetch firewood or water with the circumcised ones.

Some parents also can't drink porridge or eat food prepared by their uncircumcised daughters-in-law.

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