Lifting Youth Voices To End FGM
KENYA WORKS HOLDS ANTI-FGM FORUM IN KURIA
-- Engaging Youth in the Crusade to End Female Circumcision--
February 6 marked the tenth annual International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). FGM is a brutal practice with extreme health risks perpetrated upon girls as a right of passage to prepare them for marriage. Both FGM and child marriage are illegal in Kenya, but the practices are still prevalent in certain communities.
To mark the day, our team headed to Kuria West, a region where 84 percent of women and girls have suffered FGM. We held a 1-day forum engaging youth leaders in the crusade to end FGM. We met with a group of over 200 girls, boys and parents to create awareness that FGM is violence against women – a human rights violation with long-term health consequences
According to Community Works Program Manager Michael Adie, 95 percent of the girls attending the forum had not undergone FGM, so the majority of the girls reached now understand their rights and resources for help and refuge.
Through our local networks, Kenya Works is building strong relationships with youth-led organizations that are ready to challenge harmful practices and social norms. Empowering and encouraging youth organizations to drive change from within their community extends our investment, turning a one-day forum into an empowered next generation of girls, with boys as their allies.
"Kenya Works, you have spoken loud and given me the courage to speak for the other vulnerable girls and for those who shy away.
If we don’t speak about it, who else will?"
-Kuria Forum Participant
NOTES from the ROAD
Beautiful Sunday Kenya, on our way back to Nairobi after a great Zero Tolerance for FGM Day in Kuria.
We are traveling back knowing that we have impacted the lives of Kuria girls positively. We are encouraged and persuaded that the life of a girl will never be the same, her chance has taken a turn to a bright and hopeful future.
Knowledge is power, and that is exactly what we have given to her. The girl without an idea whether it's her right to say no to FGM, without knowledge on where and how to seek refuge, is now an ambassador of Zero tolerance to FGM to herself, a resource for her fellow girls in her village and wherever she will be. I am so amazed by the chief, he is so passionate to help these girls. Every day a girl is born and hence the need to have someone there for her, to mentor and empower. Girls are jewels. We take great care of them today, and tomorrow, they will take care of our nation. Kenya works team hope that the candles we just lit in the Nahora village will be used to light many more..so proud to be in the team. Thank you for making this work possible!
Asante, Carol, Michael & Benjamin
Six years ago, 193 countries signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals, which include a target to end all harmful practices – including FGM and child marriage – by 2030. At the current rate, this target will not be met.
Investing in Kenya Works is an investment in a more equitable world for girls to live free from harmful practices and rise to their full potential.