Skip to content

Ending FGM/C: Alternative Rites of Passage

Ending FGM/C: Alternative Rites of Passage

As this year comes to a close, we wanted to share with you an update on Amref’s efforts to end FGM/C (Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting) in Africa. We also want to take this opportunity to say thank you to Amref's wonderful supporters - it is your support that helps to make projects like this possible.

Amref has worked closely with Maasai communities across Kenya and Tanzania for over fifty years, collaboratively developing lasting solutions to health issues. Today, young women and girls in these communities are changing attitudes towards FGM/C, leading conversations about Alternative Rites of Passage (ARP), securing a brighter future for the next generation of girls.

Why is FGM/C practised?

FGM/C is practised worldwide, for cultural, social, or religious reasons. For the Maasai people, FGM/C – or ‘the cut’ as it’s commonly known – represents a rite of passage for young girls, marking their transition into adulthood.


Aside from the physical and psychological trauma associated with FGM/C, the practice also adversely affects girls’ choices. When a girl is cut, she is considered ready for marriage and motherhood; when she is married, the family receives a dowry. That’s why girls that undergo the cut are often made to leave education, enter into forced early/child marriage, and experience teenage pregnancy.

Why is FGM/C practised?
Lillian Taiyana

Lillian Taiyana

"When I was six years old, my elder sister got cut. It was so painful for her. She bled for almost two months and was later married off. She wasn’t able to complete her primary school education. So, I tried to imagine, this is what I am going to have to go through."

Student at Maasai Mara University and participant in Amref’s Alternative Rites of Passage programme.

Hear Lillian's full story, here

Since Amref’s ARP work began in 2009,

FGM/C rates have declined by
24%
With over
20,000 girls
In these communities, child and forced marriage rates have declined by
5%
Girls are staying in school for
2.5
Teenage pregnancy has decreased by
6%

Amref's Approach

Attempts to forcefully put a stop to FGM/C often end up causing more harm than good.
Criminalisation fails to address the reasons why communities practice - pushing families to perform the cut in secret, often crossing borders to where FGM/C is legal.


At Amref, we know that understanding the roots of the practice is vital to putting an end to it. That’s why our approach recognises the cultural importance of this tradition and the need for communities to lead on the creation of an alternative. In this process, the community comes to a consensus on an Alternative Rite of Passage, allowing them to abandon the cut – for good.

With the knowledge, skills and confidence gained from the Alternative Rites of Passage project, girls like Lillian are teaching their peers and wider communities about the dangers of FGM/C, helping them to abandon the practice in place of alternatives. 

Please consider giving a gift today to help more girls like Lillian end FGM/C in their communities.

Thank you so much for your support.

could support a girl to graduate through an Alternative Rite of Passage ceremony
could train two village leaders on alternatives to FGM/C could fund three school sessions on FGM/C, providing a safe space for children to learn about their bodies and rights

Donate to help end FGM/C

Give a gift today to support more communities abandon FGM/C - securing a brighter future for young girls

could support a girl to graduate through an Alternative Rite of Passage ceremony

could train two village leaders on alternatives to FGM/C

could fund three school sessions on FGM/C, providing a safe space for children to learn about their bodies and rights

Donate today

All images © Jeroen Van Loon, Joost Bastmeijer, Adrian Mgaya, Steve Kagia, and Zulani TV for Amref Health Africa. 

We use cookies to give you the best experience of using this website. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.