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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fight against female genital mutiliation continues

September 1, 2009 By Spero News Community elders in Kenya have condemned the age-old practice of female genital mutilitaion. Approximately 60% of women in Meru area of east Kenya experience the practice that removes the clitoris. The campaign against female genital mutilation in Kenya has received a major push from Meru community elders who condemned the age-old and illegal practice. The Meru Council of Elders, Njuri Ncheke, declared on August 30 they would abandon the practice at a function attended by Gender Ministers Esther Murugi. She deplored the fact that 37 communities in Kenya still practice FGM. Murugi said about 60 per cent of women in Meru in eastern Kenya undergo the rite, while in Central Province the figure stands at about 30 per cent. She said the ‘cut’ was now being carried out secretly, even by trained medical professionals. The declaration by the Njuri Ncheke came a day after 364 girls graduated from an alternative rite of initiation conducted by the Catholic Diocese of Meru. An official in the project, Mary Kawira, told CISA Saturday’s graduation brought to 551 girls who have undergone the alternative rite this year. Initiates undergo secluded training in life skills for a week but are not subjected to any surgical operation. "At the end of the week each girl is issued with a certificate of participation," Kawira said. "So far the fight the fight has been received positively and we are now trying to train members of the community so that in future they can run the project themselves."” Kawira said FGM is widespread in Tharaka, Igembe, Tigania, Meru South and Meru Central. "Mothers send their daughters to their grandmothers for the cut without the knowledge of the father. In other cases, out of peer pressure, daughters especially between the ages of 10 to 18 beg to undergo the cut," Kawira said.