The celebrations to mark the International Day of the Girl, 2020 were held at Sololo Primary School in Marsabit County with calls for promotion of girl empowerment and eradicating of FGM highlighting the event.
The celebrations were graced by Public Service and Gender Chief Administrative Secretary Hon. Rachel Shebesh alongside Marsabit County First Lady H.E Alamitu Jattan who lauded the declaration by the Gumi Gayo, the Supreme Council of elders among the Borana community as a historic milestone in the campaigns to end the practice in the community.
The International Day of the Girl is marked internationally every year on 11th October to amplify the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. This year’s theme was: “My voice, our Equal future.”
A declaration by the Borana elders banning FGM characterizing the event, which was commended by all speakers as the panacea to ending the practice in the region. While receiving the memorandum of resolutions from a representative of the Gumi Gayo, the Supreme Council of elders among the Borana community, the CAS noted that the elders had made a landmark decision that will transform the lives of many girls in the community for generations to come.
She urged the elders to cascade the resolutions to each village and ensure that every person was aware of the resolutions and further urged them to talk to other elders in other communities to embrace them.
“I urge you the elders, to help us to eradicate FGM completely in this community and in the county. Help us to cascade the Presidential Directive to the grassroots to reach every village. I am impressed by the move made by the Borana Elders to denounce FGM. We appreciate this as we all put our best foot forward in support of the Presidential Directive to end FGM by 2022,” noted Hon. Shebesh.
The First Lady Hon. Jattan urged the Ministry of Gender to assist in the construction of rescue and rehabilitation centers where girls at risk of FGM could run to for safety noting that the county is expansive and required such facilities in each sub-county. She also requested for equipping and transforming of some schools through the Ministry of Education to boarding schools to protect girls at risk of the cut.
Anti FGM Board Chairperson Ms. Agnes Pareyio noted that women faced many health complications as a result of the cut particularly when giving birth. She added such complications resulted in various effects such as fistula and stillbirths.
“I laud the declaration by the Gumi Gayo assembly and thank them for heeding to the cries of girls and women. The development of this country requires the input of both men and women to move forward. Educating girls is a precursor to accelerated national development and therefore girls and women cannot be ignored,” she added.
Anti FGM Board CEO Mrs. Bernadette Loloju said the Board will keep creating awareness until girls are free and safe from FGM. She urged men as the heads of the family units and custodians of culture to be at the front in ending harmful practices such as FGM for the sake of their daughters and sisters at home.
“The men are the heads of the family unit in our communities. If all the men put their foot down and declared an end to the practice of FGM in their families, then we shall have solved this menace once and for all,” said Ms. Loloju.
The County Commissioner Mr. Paul Rotich urged the National Government Administrative Officers to fully implement the law adding that the Gumi Gayo elders had set the pace and therefore required full support to end the vice.
“We cannot afford to let the Government down. An order has been made and therefore we should not condone any incidences of FGM in our areas,” he said.