Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is a deep rooted traditional practise found in many parts of the world but more pronounced in Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), FGM/C is practised in 28 out of 52 countries in Sub Sahara Africa where the practice ranges from a low of 5% to a high of 98%. It is estimated that as least 3 million women and girls are at risk of FGM/C each year and that 140 million women have undergone some type of FGM/C worldwide. The age at which the procedure is carried out varies from 0-20 years or as late as just before marriage or after the first pregnancy. The procedure of FGM/C vary from culture to culture wih the severity often depending on how much genital tissue is cut out.
In Kenya, FGM/C is practised widely by many communities. The Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) 2008/9 indicated that 27.1% of women surveyed were circumsed, a decline from 32% in 2003. The KDHS also indicated a higher propotion of rural women (30.6%) compared to urban (16.5%) that have been circumcised. North Eastern region of Kenya has the highest proportion of circumcised women at 97.5%.
FGM/C denies girls and women their Constitutional Rights as in Section 44(3) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 which states that no person shall compel another to undertake cultural practises or rites that are deemed harmful. Further, FGM/C is contrary to the Children's Act CAP 141 which defines harmful cultural practises like FGM/C as child abuse. FGM/C also gives to another abuse of girls as expressed in the Sexual Offences Act 2006 and is contrary to the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2011.
The gender equality programme is supported by the GOK/UNFPA/UNICEF. It is the 7th Country Programme whose expected United Nations Develoment Assistance Framework (UNDAF) outcome is strengthened institutional and legal frameworks and process that support democratic governance, transformation, accountability, respect for human rights and gender equality.
The programme is anchored on outcome 5 whose goal is to contribute to gender equality and reproductive rights advanced particulalry through advocacy and implementation of laws and policy, in line with the ICPD agenda, MDG 5 (A and B) and Vision 2030.
It is currently implemented in Samburu, Baringo, Mt. Elgon, West Pokot, Kuria, Migori, Moyale, Isiolo, Garissa, Meru and TanaRiver. It is involved in:
- Supporting the promotion of gender equality through advocacy and community involvement including participation of males.
- Supporting activities aimed at enactment of laws that address harmful practices particularly FGM/C and early marriage.
- Scaling up sensitization of community leaders on the need to abandon FGM/C and early marriage
- Support Alternative Rites of Passage (ARP) for selected districts.
Click the link below to watch the FGM Video sang by Mtunasi, a youth from Mt. Elgon FGM network. The video was produced with support from UNFPA.
This project is a joint initiative between National Steering Committee on Peace-building and Conflict Management (NSC), a Secretariat in the Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-Kenya Country Office and MYWO.
Its broad objective is to enhance the visibility and participation of MYWO leadership and entire membership across its country-wide structures in the active promotion of peace building and conflict management processes in Kenya in the period leading up to, during and after the 2012 general elections so as to consolidate and lay the foundations for sustainable peace and security in the country.
The major activities involve building the capacities of MYWO members in particular and women in general with a view to develop and implement their PBCM projects, based on the obtaining security challenges in their own local contexts. The project is national, multi-year project is planned to initially run from 2011 up to and including 2013.
The K-NICE project is funded by the Government of Kenya. It’s a project designed for capacity building the elected women leaders to effectively participate in politics and decision making positions.
Goal: To increase number of women elected in parliamentary and civic leadership positions.
Purpose: Create a more enabling political environment for women's participation in politics and decision making positions.
* Strengthening of MYWO capacity to undertake gender responsive civic education.
* Increase awareness amongst the local communities to identify the need for women to participate in economic and political issues.
* Establishing information database on the voting process.
MYWO held a training on enhancing the roles and responsibilities of grassroots women by the Centre for Good Governance and Economic Development – Tanzania on 7th to 10th November 2011 at the Multi-Media University College-Nairobi.
MYWO aims at empowering women in politics, economy and leadership skills at all community level.
MYWO will continue partnering with donors, like-minded organizations so as to train women on leadership skills and other economic generating income activities.
With support from UNWOMEN, the Gender and Governance Programme III sensitizes women on the principles of equal gender representation at all levels of leadership. MYWO is iimplementing this Programme on enhancing Women’s Participation in Political Progress. The project instills aspects of democratic governance, transparency and accountability in all areas of government.
A court in Kuria East in Migori county sentences parents of an 11 year old girl to three-years imprisonment after forcing their daughter to undergo Female Genital Mutilation. Female Circumcision is one of the rights of passage practiced for many years by members of the Kuria community. According to The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation and the Constitution, female circumcision is illegal in Kenya.
Rahab Mwikali Muiu, National Chairperson (centre) addressing media during the 1st National Steering Committee meeting. Eileen Kendagor, 1st National Vice Chairperson (left) and Sureya Roble, 2nd National Vice Chairperson (right) looks on.