Ending FGM/C in Kajiado County, Kenya
Amref has partnered with communities across Kajiado county, Kenya, to put an end to FGM/C (Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting) - securing a brighter future for young girls.
With funding from the Amref UK office, we have been able to reach whole communities in Kajiado with Water, Sanitation & Hygiene and Sexual & Reproductive health education - supporting 1,500 girls so far to avoid the cut, continue their education, and shape their own futures.
How does the project work?
In every project Amref runs, community engagement and leadership are the foundations of lasting change. Being community-led means that the community designs and develops projects themselves, as they know better than anyone their specific health needs, practices and cultural traditions.
In line with these principles, the Alternative Rites of Passage project in Kajiado combines end-FGM/C work with hygiene education and the building of infrastructure that improves access to clean water to the community at large.
Community Leadership & Engagement
Ensuring that the whole community is on board with the project takes time. The process usually begins with a year and a half of community conversations, listening and learning from community members about the importance of cultural traditions and how to maintain these without the cut.
The community also learn from one another through inter-generational dialogues about FGM/C - where elders, school children and community committees come together to understand how the cut affects young girls' choices, and the correlation between the practice and early/forced marriage and teenage pregnancy.
Through this approach, the community itself owns the collective and coordinated choice to abandon FGM/C, as an investment in the future of its girls and families.
What does FGM/C have to do with water?
Being community-led means addressing health needs of the community as identified by them. Following conversations with women in Kajiado about the barriers they face to good health, it was clear that access to water, (or the lack of it) was key.
In Kajiado, women’s daily lives require access to clean water - something that often isn't easy in rural villages. To keep the home running, water is needed for drinking, washing clothes and cooking. Water is also essential to women's reproductive health, preventing infection during menstruation and pregnancy.
However, with water sources far away from the home, and likely to carry disease and infections - improving access to clean water was identified as a priority for the community. In more ways than one, easy access to clean water empowers young women to understand and promote sexual and reproductive health, as well as securing better health for the community at scale. This is why access to clean has become a central part of the end FGM/C work Amref facilitates in the county.
It is your support that makes projects like this possible. Please consider giving a gift this Christmas to help more communities access clean water, sexual health education and ultimately, decide to end their practice of FGM/C.
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
Read more about the project in Kajiado, here
Images above (c) Adrian Mgaya, Joost Bastmeijer & Steve Kagia for Amref Health Africa