“Education to end FGM practices in Kilindi District meets challenges, but that cannot hold us back,” says Dr. Jane Sempeho

The work of ending FGM in Maasai society was not an easy task, Dr Jane Sempeho says they faced challenges from various groups in the community including men (Morani) who were not ready to marry girls who were not cut. 

The other resisting group was the Circumcisers famously known as Ngariba) who benefited in the business of cutting girls paused a challenge. For example, they used to earn a sum of 5 USD per girl, not to mention other favors from the community like gifts, the best parts of slaughtered cattle, support in household chores etc. In one season, a circumciser can cut an average of 50 to 100 girls.  This was a lucrative source of income hence their resistance. 

Another group was of elders/leaders of the community who believe that the girls who were not cut, if married can cause a curse to befall the marrying home, hence to avoid the curse these girls must undergo FGM. 

Dr Jane says “for more than ten years in Kilindi, Amref Health Africa worked closely with the government to raise awareness on the effects of FGM in these communities” 

“We introduced different initiatives so as to End FGM for example we provided education to the community about the dangerous effects of FGM to their girls and introduced alternative rites of passage, where a girl undergoes all traditional rites of passage education without the cut’. 

According to UNFPA FGM violates human rights principles and standards – including the principles of equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex, the right to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the rights of the child, and the right to physical and mental integrity, and even the right to life. 

Ending FGM in Kilindi  is essential since it will improve the girls rights including right to education. In the past, many girls ended up in forced and early marriages, as FGM signifies a matured girl ready for marriage. These girls were robbed of the chance to complete school and an opportunity to a brighter future.