Amref Health Africa is pleased to extend the partnership with the Rabelais Trust for a third phase of the integrated Community-Led Alternative Rites of Passage (CL-ARP) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme in Kajiado County, Kenya.
The programme will deepen collaboration between government, civil society & community-based organisations and anti-FGM champions to reduce rates of FGM/C, help girls stay in school longer, and delay marriage and childbirth.
About Kajiado County, Kenya
Since 2020, the integrated ARP/WASH programme has reached 23,988 people including 95 community health workers (CHWs) trained on Amref’s LEAP digital learning tool to keep girls and their communities safe and healthy. Seventy-one local administrators have been sensitised on FGM/C, 1,250 adolescent girls saved from FGM/C, teenage pregnancy and child, early and forced marriage, and 7,000 people reached with safe water and hygiene services.
The ongoing severe drought has had a devastating effect on communities in Kajiado. Water sources are drying up, leading to livestock deaths, and increased pressure on women and girls to walk long distances to fetch water from other sources meaning they miss school and are at greater risk of sexual violence.
Amid these pressures on families and communities, girls bear the highest burden; they are often married off early to fetch a dowry to replace losses due to drought. In traditional Maasai social culture, to get married, they must first undergo FGM/C.
The ARP/WASH Theory of Change
If girls have access to water and sanitation facilities nearby, and they have access to education and information about their sexual and reproductive rights and the negative consequences of FGM/C, then they are more likely to be protected from sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices including FGM/C.
Phase 3 of the ARP/WASH programme will deepen the support to communities in seven villages in Kajiado towards the end FGM/C vision. These will include new drought-resistant WASH interventions such as sand dams, promotion of the community-led Alternative Rites of Passage ceremony and integrated sexual and reproductive health and rights information and education.
Core programme activities, starting implementation in July 2023, will include:
- Community dialogues involving cultural/religious leaders, traditional birth attendants, circumcised women, and young people;
- Training community health workers on the LEAP digital learning platform;
- Constructing drought-resistant water infrastructure including sand dams, solar-powered water sources;
- Training and supporting women’s groups of former cutters on alternative sources of income;
- Conducting school outreach programmes to establish school health clubs to create awareness of WASH, SRHR and ARP;
- Support and training of girls through the ARP programme and ceremony.
To improve the ongoing support to girls who have graduated through the community-led Alternative Rite of Passage, the programme will continue hosting Annual Girls Symposiums and integrate regular check-ins with ARP graduates using Tracking the Girls (TTG) digital tool. This will collect data on the girls' educational attainment, their wellbeing, threats and instances of FGM/C, forced marriage and expulsion from their homes. The TTG tool and the symposium also ensure they have avenues to report pressure to undergo FGM/C and to help build a comprehensive insight into long-term programme impact.
Masthead image: Girls attend an event calling for an end to Gender-Based Violence, Kajiado, Kenya (c) Jeroen van Loon