Tohara ya wasichana ni uchungu sana (Female Genital Mutilation is very painfully); these were Maseke’s sentiments a class six girl from Nyaigutu Primary school during our two day children forums leading to the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM 6th February,2016.
Our main aim was the involvement of both boys and girls as the key stakeholders in the fight against female circumcision in the Kuria community. Drawing from seventeen schools across the community fifty young boys and girls between the ages of 10-16 were brought together to discuss on how children can get involved in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation since these act directly affects young girls as young as 9 years.
During our two day forum we discussed in details the Rights of the Child, what FGm/C is, why the Kuria community practiced and encouraged circumcision and what we (children) and the rest of the stakeholders can help stop circumcision.
Uncircumcised girl in the Kuria community could not open the door of the homestead nor use the main door of the house since she was considered a bad omen, she was not allowed to fetch water in the same well as other girls since she would make the well dry neither was she allowed collected vegetables in the farm as she would dry up the vegetables nor could she be married.
The council of elders (Wazee wa Nchama) the most respected and feared men are said to curse the uncircumcised girls therefore parents in order to evade the curse circumcised their girls.
They are said to have super natural powers that they use to control the community, its said that people have died as a result of disrespecting the elders.
In the last circumcision ceremony last year about 100 girls from the Bungumbe clan one of the four clans got circumcised and five lost their lives. The children were quick to note of the previous cases of death they have heard before as well as the circumcised girls in the forum gave a testament of the pain they felt during the cut, one girl said she fainted after she got circumcised.
We were pleased that after the forum especially the boys were super energized to take up the role to be ambassadors against FGM by ensuring they taught their parents and age mates on the harmful effects of FGM/c and the importance of protecting their sisters and other girls, promising to also be nicer to the already circumcised girls since it was no their fault; most of them were circumcised when they were still very young which is a violation of the right of the child.
Its good news for us since we just signed up 50 new antiFGM ambassadors, together with the world we are looking forward to a time that girls will not be forced to undergo circumcision can receive quality education basic education and get forced to get married while still children.