PICTURE: Anti-FGM Ambassadors dressed in Kenya’s Flag a sign of bravery.

MARSABIT, Dec 2rd 2017

Over 300 school girls in Marsabit South Sub-County, today took part in a life-changing ceremony held at Merrille town, The Alternative Rite of Passage (ARP) celebrates a girl’s transition to womanhood without the deep-rooted and dangerous tradition of female genital mutilation (FGM). Organised by World Vision, Laisamis ADP in partnership with Feiya Action Network (CBO) in the area.

The colourful historic event brought together tribe elders, religious leaders and Marsabit county leaders led by CEC for Health David Timado who graced by occasion.

The alternative rite of passage programme allows girls to forego the traditional female genital cut, but still retain key traditional teachings on womanhood. By foregoing the cut, the rendille girls will be able to not only avoid early marriages, but also continue with their education. This is a major step in a county where education for the girl child still lags far behind other counties.

“The girls who went through the ARP will not only avoid the cut, but also early marriages and school drop outs, advancing education for the girl child in the area” Says Rose Orguba.

The biggest challenge in ending FGM has always been the fact that it is culturally entrenched, and has the backing of cultural leaders. World Vision has secured the support of influential groups in the community like women, elders and morans, enabling the ARP programme to grow.

Traditional birth attendants, who typically double up as female circumcisers, have also been sensitized to the harm caused by FGM and many have abandoned the practice.

In Kenya, 100,000 girls undergo FGM every year and around 21 per cent of girls and women have undergone the cut, according to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2014.