“I have decided, NO MORE CUT to our beautiful girls” – Nashipai Ngomian
Tuesday, 20 September, 2022
Although the Tanzania Sexual Offences Special Provision Act (SOSPA) of 1998 banned the practice of FGM/C, it is still practiced in some Maasai communities. However, Nashipai Ngomian (61) is making a stand in her community and is calling for change.
The practice of FGM is rooted in social norms, cultural beliefs, and economic incentives. FGM is practiced for various reasons; to some communities, it means to control women’s sexuality and, in Maasai communities in Tanzania is considered an important rite of passage into womanhood.
For over 16 years, Nashipai has been practicing FGC (Ngariba) in her community. When Amref Tanzania started the end FGM initiative in her community, she was informed and educated on all the dangers and possible outcomes caused by female genital mutilation. She slowly started to understand and decided to stop the Cut and became one of the women leading the movement to end FGM in her village.
Nashipai declared that it was not easy for her to stop practicing FGM because she has depending on that job and she did not have any other alternative source for generating income.
To her, FGM/C was considered a “business”. The Ngaribas are paid around 50000 Tshs per a girl, and she was able to cut more than 40 girls in one season of June/December every year.
“I had no other source of income those days, so I have to do that in order to feed my family,” said Nashipai.
She added: “For now I am not practicing it and I am a good ambassador on fighting against FGM/C in my community. I am now aware about this harmful practice; the pain and risks resulted from FGM/C are very depressing . I am thankful to Amref for providing an access to entrepreneurial education and supporting us with a little capital to start alternative income generating activities.”
Through Amref ARP/WASH programs, there have been initiatives for awareness creation on the health risks resulting from FGM/C practices. The initiatives also support the cutters in developing alternative sources of income. The programs include an Alternative rites of passage ceremonies, which involve circumcisers denouncing the practice and symbolically surrendering their instruments.
Due to the lack of information that some communities have on the hazards of FGM/C, need for education and training was raised us key recommendation and opportunity for Amref. A number of women in Handeni’s Maasai community said that they would not have undergone FGM/C if they had fully known the harmful consequences of it.