For centuries, women have been socialized to believe that they are not whole without the cut. They are also made to believe that if they are not mutilated (circumcised) they would give birth to dead children or they would not get husbands to marry them, something that has been highly valued by Africans.
In Kenya, the Methodist Church has trained over 55,000 girls and young women on the Christian alternative rite of passage. Many of them graduated and were inspired to continue with their education to be able to fulfill their dreams in life. The project also includes over 15,000 parents and community leaders who were trained on the dangers of FGM and early marriages, as well as the importance of education for their children – many of them are now a part of the project support team and mentors.
The program aims to take girls and young women through long sessions on sex education, self-confidence and human rights, all of which promotes the girls’ feeling of self-worth in view of their lower status compared to those circumcised within their communities. In addition, girls will be encouraged to continue with their education and will be trained on how to avoid early marriages, etc. At the end of the training they celebrate the rite of passage from girls to women.
Aiming to make the program Pan-African, the project has been in operation in Isiolo, Wajir, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Kajido, Elgeyo Marakwet (Pokots) and Narok (Maasai) counties.
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