•Many efforts have been launched in Kenya to fight against FGM/C but regrettably, diverse voices continue to support the continuation of these destructive practices in Wajir County.
•In this environment, both recent tendencies continue to support the practice of FGM/C.
Your Excellency, your win gives Kenyan women new hope in overcoming their ongoing difficulties.
Our resolve to work with your government to help the women of Wajir County realize their ambitions is rekindled by your unheralded passion for women's empowerment.
Many women and girls around the world continue to live lives that are defined by harmful cultural practices.
The socioeconomic well-being of many generations of women and girls has been negatively impacted by a number of issues, including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Many efforts have been launched in Kenya to fight against FGM/C but regrettably, diverse voices continue to support the continuation of these destructive practices in Wajir County.
In this environment, both recent tendencies continue to support the practice of FGM/C.
Your Excellency, a thorough examination reveals that FGM/C is still being practised despite documented patterns.
According to the Kenya Demographic Health Statistics, some ethnic groups in Kenya have experienced a drop.
The same has however remained at 97% within the Somali ethnic community.
The situation is even worse for the largely Muslim Wajir women who live in places where religion has been used to justify the vice.
Additionally, this community has begun to increasingly medicalize FGM practices.
The passing of the Prohibition of FGM Act has led some FGM practitioners to become more creative in their efforts to carry out a covert cutting of girls and women.
Mr President, the community’s sentiments are cited as another justification for the continued use of FGM.
FGM is still seen in the community as an essential social norm. County officials must assume more accountability and be more transparent about the practice.
This is not the case, however, county officials seem uninterested in serious talks about the consequences of this practice.
Thus, it falls to us, the tireless women leaders promoting change in the strategy for opposing FGM, to continue with our mission.
Your Excellency, the aforementioned evolving patterns highlight the necessity of ongoing research to comprehend the trends and modify FGM interventions.
For instance, the rising new trends demand that private health facilities be monitored more closely.
Stronger rules should also be implemented when using medical supplies provided by the Government.
To stop FGM/C from continuing, severe fines should be implemented for health professionals who are perpetuating this vice.
Most significantly, there needs to be a plan that targets junior staff members and retired nurses at medical facilities.
In addition to anti-bullying policies implemented in schools, greater community awareness of FGM/C is needed to safeguard girls who attend these facilities.
This can be improved by raising awareness of the risks associated with FGM/C and its impact on the education of girls, as well as by reassessing the practice and accelerating eradication campaigns to adopt a multi-sectoral approach such as integrating FGM/C awareness with antenatal and postnatal programs.
Equally important is the sensitization of political figures, religious leaders, County Governments and other administrators to change the mindsets of Somali men.
Your Excellency, to ensure that there is no gap in the upbringing of girls, the community heritage protectors should replace the FGM/C with other interventions such as education for girls.
My experience as an Anti-FGM/C activist has brought to the fore the challenges faced by people similarly situated as me.
We face discrimination and increasing fear of antagonizing a community’s practice.
We are increasingly isolated, threatened and dissuaded from attending essential community gatherings and meetings.
The County administration is not keen on funding our initiatives and as such, we experience financial constraints that limit the realization of our goals.
I, therefore, ask, on behalf of many other girls and women, for your government to be more vocal on ending FGM/C and tasking County Governments to be more proactive. Thank you Sir!
Ms. Ismahan Dahir Wajir Women Network [email protected]
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