Anti FGM Board Chairperson Mrs. Agnes Pareiyo implored the top clan elders of the Samburu Community that FGM is illegal and an outdated cultural practice that is of no benefit to the girls and women.
While on a week-long engagement with Samburu elders across their “seven mountains’ where the community resides, Ms. Pareyio urged the elders that people should not be held captive by culture but instead control the cultural practices of the society by erasing the bad ones and upholding those that have value. She also urged the elders that there are laws set against the practice and that perpetrators face severe penalties.
“Bad culture should not control our living style. FGM is a bad culture and should not be tolerated in our society. The government has set laws that help eradicate FGM and we as the citizens should follow those laws for better living,” stated Ms. Pareyio.
Anti-FGM Board CEO Ms. Bernadette Loloju stated that the Presidential commitment to end FGM by 2022 can only be achieved by engaging community elders as they are the heads of many families and the society at large.
“We have realized that for us to reinforce the presidential directive of ending FGM by 2022, we must have dialogues with top clan elders of the major mountains of Samburu County as they are the heads of the society and families. FGM prevalence in the county stands at 86 percent listing the Samburu among 22 counties where FGM is highly practiced,” she said.
Ms. Lily Leshalote an officer of AMREF Health Africa –Koota Injena Project in Samburu stated: ‘’The dialogue with top clan elders is a free zone to discuss all our cultural practice of FGM, its effects, the laws set and ways on ending FGM by 2022.’’
The elders lauded the idea of being involved in the war of ending FGM in Samburu County. Lesepen a top clan elder from Samburu North stated: ‘’Many people are subjecting girls to FGM in secrecy and if found they will be punished for their actions. We as the top clan elders of the six mountains of Samburu County have agreed to join hands and ensure that our society is free from FGM and no practice of early marriages. Our girls should study, be better people and who will give back to the society.’’
Michael Lenkaina, another elder from Samburu west said that ending FGM will have to follow cultural procedures involving all elders across the county, and each and everyone from the dialogue has a role to play to ensure an end to FGM by 2022.
AMREF Health Africa –Koota Injena Project in partnership with Anti-FGM Board, County Government, Office of the County Commissioner, and World Vision has targeted top clan elders from the major mountains of Samburu County for a dialogue to discuss ways of ending female genital cut and forced early marriages against girls in the county.
The project sought to uplift the value of the girl through meeting with community elders on seven mountains which are Wamba, Maralal, Ng’iro, Lorroki, Ndoto, Mt Kulal, and Marsabit held from November to December on the major seven mountains in Samburu County.