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Thursday, April 1, 2010

86 Girls and their Families say "No!" to Female Genital Mutilation

December 18, 2009
By Women's Global Education Project

This past December 18, 2009, 86 girls from the village of Gatunga in Tharaka, Kenya, graduated from our alternative rite of passage program, saying "No!" to the culturally-entrenched practice of female genital mutilation.

The girls were celebrated at the graduation ceremony by family, friends, community members, village leaders, and North Tharaka District Commissioner Yaloo.

Mr. Yaloo, the ceremony's guest of honor, commended the girls and their families for refusing circumcision and encouraged them to focus on attaining their educational goals. He talked about how the attitude towards this issue was changing in the community, saying, "It's only through education that girls can become real women." This message was also reinforced by the other speakers: graduate Caroline Kithega, parent Kagwiria John, other village leaders, and Women's Global Kenya Project Coordinator Aniceta Kiriga--as well as by the uplifting, anti-FGM songs and dances performed by the graduates.

The graduation ceremony capped a week-long workshop that discussed health and reproductive issues, relationships, gender issues, and self-esteem, and which focused on empowerment.

Learn more about Circumcision With Words and our work to fight female genital mutilation in the Tharaka region of Kenya.