Concerns raised over increase in FGM cases

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Photo creds; World vision
Alternative Rite of Passage graduation ceremony at St. Catherine's Girls Chepnyal Secondary School, Sook ADP. (Photo Credit: World Vision)
Anti FGM organizations in West Pokot County have raised concern over the rise in Female Genital Mutilation [FGM] cases where by over 75 percent of girls are at risk of being subjected to the unkind cut during this festive season.
Many FGM cases have been reported in the County because of the longest holidays, lack of information, illiteracy, ignorance poor infrastructure and lack of funds to sustain anti FGM campaigns.
The organizations have warned that thousands of girls in the County are set to undergo Female Genital Mutilation[FGM] during the December holidays as many ceremonies planned  unless the  government makes good its warning of dire consequences.
Areas where FGM is rampant in the County are marginalized areas of Masol,Muino, Kapsolion Takaywa , Nyangaita, Nyarkulian, Sondany and Koporo and North Pokot Sub County areas.
Speaking during the graduation of 350 after being taken through an alternative rite of passage  and  educated on various issues contrary to the Female Genital Mutilation – FGM practice at Muino,Wei wei Ward in Pokot Central sub county  Beyond FGM  CBO  Program manager Ms  Domitila Chesang said that many girls have suffered after undergoing the cut.
“This is because of lack of information and many don’t understand the
effects,”said Chesang.
She said that the girls underwent a four day mentorship program where they were sensitized on contentious matters that directly touch on their lives on importance of education, Biblical teachings, effects of FGM and early forced marriages.
Chesang faulted girls in the region who are now grouping together looking for circumcisers themselves without knowledge of their parents.
She pointed out that the CBO has put measures in place to eradicate the vice in the area by reaching remote villages where the vices are rampant.
“We have tried to ensure that we reach remote areas where the problem is. We need a collective responsibility We have trained Nyumba Kumi people,women and men and youths.Youths should understand and  accept to marry the uncircumcised girls because they are also affected in marriages, “she said.
Chesang condemned the vices and faulted men in the community who are custodians of bad culture and defend traditions.
“We have trained them and show them model and pictures on how it is done. Myths and misconceptions that you are unable to cook well, smelling and you can’t milk cows are not important,”she said.
County assembly speaker Ms Catherine Mukenyang who is also an anti FGM crusader urged the Pokot community to shun retrogressive practices like FGM and early forced marriages which has affected education in the region.
She said the county leadership supports anti Fgm programs and work together with other stakeholders to eradicate the vice.
Mukenyang  called on leaders and provincial administration to help in the enforcement of anti FGM law.
“Chiefs should help us in the implementation of the law which was passed by parliament to help us reduce these cases in remote region of our county,she said.
The speaker called on the Government donors, NGOS to support and help in the fight against FGM.
Mukenyang observed that they have formed a women caucus in the assembly to sensitize the community on FGM issues.
She said the County Government has set aside money for infrastructure and bursaries for girls.
“Next financial year we shall allocate funds for fighting FGM,”she said.

A standard seven girl aged sixteen Faith Chemtai from   Ortum primary school who graduated attributed that she will give the teachings to other girls in the community.

Muino location Chief Mr Jacob Tatalima   is said they are  alert and no girl will be subjected to the cut during this holiday.
He warned of stern action against parents condoning the vice that they will be arrested.
“They will   pay the heavy fine because FGM  has contributed to lack of development,”he said.
Wei wei ward representative Mr. David Kapelisiwa said many girls who have pursued education have not gone through FGM.