UNICEF Kenya in collaboration with the Anti-FGM Board launched dignity kits for over 14,000 girls at risk of FGM and child marriages across 12 counties in Kenya. The kits are to benefit girls aged 10 to 18 years.
The kits were launched in October at the Anti-FGM Board offices in a press briefing addressed by the Chairperson Ms. Agnes Pareyio, UNICEF Kenya Child Protection Specialist Mr. Haithar Ahmed, and CEO Ms. Bernadette Loloju.
The kits are aimed to meet the need of the girls since they are essential to maintaining their self-esteem and confidence so that they may opt not to undergo FGM and child marriage. They are also aimed to enable the girls to go to school and improve their progress in life.
The dignity kits provide much-needed relief to young girls during this COVID-19 pandemic when schools are closed and particularly because these items do not get priority at the household level.
The Dignity Kits include sanitary pads to support young girls with personal hygiene and a solar lamp and backpack to help girls continue with learning during the phased reopening of schools.
The Chairperson Ms. Pareyio flagged off the trucks carrying the kits to benefit girls from Wajir, Garissa, Kajiado, West Pokot, Marsabit, Isiolo, Narok, Laikipia, Tana River, Samburu, Kisii & Migori. While addressing the press at the launch, Ms. Pareyio also asked chiefs to protect girls from harmful practices.
She pointed out that law enforcement was a missing link in the protection of the dignity of girls. Hon. Pareyio added: “We call on the Ministry of Interior to take drastic measures on errant chiefs to ensure the presidential Directive is achieved.”
Mr. Haithar reiterated the commitment of UNICEF Kenya to join hands with the government and particularly supporting the Board to end FGM in Kenya. “We support the government’s plan to end female genital mutilation by 2022. That is why UNICEF Kenya is providing these shareable Dignity Kits to ensure the most vulnerable girls are protected and have access to essential items. The Dignity Kits are part of interventions under the presidential acceleration plan to end female genital mutilation by 2022,” said Mr. Haithar.
Besides the kits, girls are offered mentorship, life skills, and advice during the handing over of the dignity kits thus raising the awareness levels of parents and girls to reject FGM and child marriage.
According to statistics carried out by UNICEF Kenya, the rate of FGM practices evaluated through 6 counties has increased by 80% during the Covid-19 pandemic.