Female Genital Mutilation Rescue Programme in Kenya

Nasaru, a Maasai word for rescue started off as a rescue team that helped young Maasai girl escape from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and forced early marriages in Kajiado County, Kenya. The very foundation of Nasaru FGM Prevention Programme is based on the provisions of Children’s rights, laws of Kenya and the African Charter on the rights and Welfare of the Child.

Section 14:(1) states that “No person shall subject a child to female circumcision, early marriage or other cultural rites, customs or traditional practices that are likely to negatively affect the  child’s life health, social welfare ,dignity or physical or psychological development.

Further, the African Charter on the rights and Welfare of the Child (which  Kenya as  a member state of the African  Union has ratified) Chapter one Article 4 on Best interests of the child states “In all actions concerning the child undertaken by any person or authority the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration.”

Article 21: Protection against harmful, social and cultural practices states: State parties to the present charter shall take all the appropriate measures to eliminate harmful, social and cultural practices affecting the welfare, dignity, normal growth and development of the child and in particular.

Those customs and practice prejudicial to health or life of the child; and Those customs and practices discriminatory to the child on the grounds of sex or other status.

Child marriage and the betrothal of girls and boys shall be prohibited and effective action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify the minimum age to be 18years and make the registration of all marriages in an official registry compulsory.

Nasaru CBO has used different tactics to curb the FGM and forced marriage menace. The measures tried include:

  • Creating awareness in the community esp. to women and youth on that girls who have not undergone the cut can also lead good lives and make good wives. The young men are encouraged to marry the uncircumcised girls instead of shunning them.
  • The traditional cutters are sensitized on the risks associated with FGM  that encourage the spread of HIV/AIDS e.g. using one blade to cut all the girls, risks of handling blood with bare hands  .
  • Girls in schools are educated on their human rights and made to understand that there are laws protecting them from harmful practices. They are also advised on where to seek help and how they can escape.

Under this program 10 girls have had a chance to go to school. Two have already completed high school, 3 are in high school and 5 are in primary school. We express our gratitude to well-wishers who believed in our work and have continued to support this objective to achieve our mission. The department of children services, police officers, local administrators and community leaders have played a crucial role in helping us rescue girls from harmful cultural practices.

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