At least thirty six female FGM circumcisers in West Pokot County have downed their tools of trade after practising the retrogressive vice which is rampant in the area for many decades.
The reformed circumcisers handed over the knives they have been using for many years to Batei Location Chief Mr. Samuel Lemreng yesterday during celebrations of the International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM held at Ortum Center.
Led by Maria Chemkal from Masol area, the women who used to circumcise many girls in a day said they have decided the quit the outdated practice after being educated on the dangers of the vice and being trained by Beyond Zero CBO.
A former circumciser, Chemkan Kalemnyang who is 80-years-old, said she practised the vice for over thirty years and urged the government to help them find alternative means of survival.
Beyond Zero CBO Activist Domitila Chesang called on leaders and other stakeholders in the area to support efforts geared towards ending FGM, cooperate and be extra serious in the fight against the unkind cut.
Chesang urged non-governmental organizations involved with the anti-FGM campaign to take the message to the grassroots and shun conducting FGM forums in big hotels and boardrooms, “We want sensitization done in villages where the practice is common,” he said.
Chesang said the FGM rate in some remote areas like North Pokot and Central Pokot within the County stands at a prevalence rate of 100% despite the national rate being 75%. The activist said that reformed circumcisers need to be empowered and given an alternative means of survival so that they don’t go back to the vice.
She called on the Anti FGM Board to be dissolved to Counties to help in anti-FGM services. “The work of the board hasn’t been felt and we haven’t realized its role,” said Chesang.
The ceremony was attended by area leaders West Pokot County assembly speaker Ms. Catherine Mukenyang, Former Kapenguria MP Rev. Julius Murgor and Former West Pokot Deputy Governor Titus Lotee who promised to tackle the vice.
Mukenyang urged the Pokot community to shun retrogressive practices like FGM and early forced marriages which hinder development.
She observed that they have formed a women caucus in the assembly to sensitize the community on Female Genital Mutilation issues.
She said the County assembly has domesticated the anti-FGM law and adopted the law thus has passed education bills to subsidize school fees and built rescue centres.