Young Kenyans came together yesterday on International Day of the Girl Child, urging their government to take action to end medicalised Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Campaigners, political leaders and NGOs signed an open letter to the Anti-FGM Board Chief Executive Officer Bernadette Loloju, which calls on the government to increase disciplinary measures on medical professionals who cut girls.
Youth activist Sadia Hussein delivered the letter to Loloju in person to ensure the youth’s rallying cry is heard ahead of the UN’s International Day of the Girl. Each year, this day provides a platform to raise awareness of the unique challenges girls face globally and promote the fulfilment of their human rights.
“We are raising our voices and making a stand to end FGM for our sisters and future daughters,” the youth say in their letter. “Will you join us?” they ask Loloju.
Leading the charge was Sadia Hussein, Kenyan youth campaigner, who said: “We applaud our government’s commitment to ending FGM in recent years. Yet it is unacceptable that FGM is still being practised by some medical professionals in Kenya. We are urging the government to increase disciplinary actions on those individuals that cut girls. We have spoken — will you join us?”
The activists are part of the Youth End FGM movement, a grassroots campaign that has made waves across the African continent and worldwide in recent months. The campaign has seen thousands of young Africans pledge to make theirs the generation that ends FGM by launching a global social media campaign — #IHaveSpoken — that breaks the silence that allows the harmful practice to prevail.
Seven million reached
The Youth End FGM campaign has already reached over seven million people online alone and has secured the support of celebrities and influencers across the continent. Now campaigners hope their collective clout will encourage decision-makers to help them make their goal of ending FGM a reality by bringing about meaningful, long-lasting change at government level.
The campaign is being supported by The Girl Generation, the world’s largest Africa-led global collective of partners, brought together by a shared vision that FGM can — and must — end in this generation.
Dr Faith Mwangi-Powell, global director for The Girl Generation, said: “On such an important day like today, where we come together to empower girls around the world, it is inspiring to see such passionate young people directly engaging with leaders.
“I sincerely hope Mrs Loloju will heed their call of increasing disciplinary measures on medical professionals who cut girls. In doing so, she will be taking a huge leap forward in making the world a place that is safer for our girls.”
You can find more information on the Youth End FGM campaign by visiting www.iwillendfgm.org.