• Joy says it is the duty of everyone to end the retrogressive practice.
• She said FGM, teenage pregnancies and child marriages have compromised the education of girls and something must be done to stop the trend.
A 14-year-old model from Narok is leading the fight against female genital mutilation.
Joy Ngunjiri, a Standard 8 pupil at Blessed Narok Schools, educates Kenyans on the dangers of the outlawed practice.
She has to balance class work and talent, and she attends shows during school holidays.
“It is the duty of everyone to end the retrogressive practice. This will only succeed if all the people agree to shun the vice and put all the efforts to work towards achieving this vision,” Joy said.
When journalists caught up with her in the school, she said FGM, teenage pregnancies and child marriages have compromised the education of girls and something must be done to stop the trend.
“There is a need to inform our people of the importance of educating girls,” Joy said.
“Whenever I travel outside the country for modeling shows, I use the opportunity to educate the world on the dangers of FGM and abuse on girls,” joy, who wants to be an air hostess, said.
She said she recently met Narok Governor Samuel Tunai over the same issue and was happy with the progress showed by the county administration towards her campaign to end FGM.
She also thanked the school administration for mentoring and giving her a chance to develop her talent.
“I'm proud of my school for what they taught me and that has helped me in developing my talent. They introduced me to foreign languages like French and Chinese. This has helped me to communicate well whenever I'm attending international shows,” Joy said.
She was in the company of mother Purity Kurraru and school director Gidraph Ikenye.
Her mother Kurraru said the school plays a key role in ensuring her daughter's talent is tapped at an early age.
“She has been the role model and inspiration to other pupils by encouraging them that everything is possible in life,” Kurraru said.
Ikenye said the girl is bright and talented.
“As a school, we are proud of her because she heeded our call. We keep inspiring her to grow her talent,” he said.
“The talent has helped in instilling leadership skills in her and she was appointed the Standard 8 governor.”
FGM and early marriages are rampant in Narok due to social and cultural beliefs.
Arrest and prosecution of these kinds of cases are met by many obstacles, and it becomes difficult to secure a conviction in court due to lack of cooperation from the family and witnesses who are compromised or threatened.
Due to pressure from the community and their peers, girls and even women undergo the cut to gain social acceptance.
After the government shut schools in early 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic, scores of people were arrested in almost all the six sub-counties in Narok for allegedly engaging in FGM. Some cases are still pending in court.
Some pleaded guilty to the charges and fined Sh200,000 each or serve three years in jail.
FGM was outlawed in Kenya in 2001 under laws that prohibit customs harmful to children and under the FGM Act, 2011.
In 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta said he wanted to see an end to female genital mutilation by the end of this year.
The practise if however still rampant among Kenyan communities, with the Somali community leading in propagating the harmful practice by 94 per cent.
They are closely followed by Samburus at 86 per cent.
The Abagusii and Maasai communities are third and fourth in FGM, with a prevalence of 84 and 78 per cent respectively.