FGM; Government has a lot to do in Kisii
Most young girls in the Gusii region want to undergo the cut! It is not a question of whether the parents push them to do it or not but more of a myth.
Come December every year, thousands of girls are undergoing Female Genital mutilation willingly and with the support of their parents and relatives. The cut is done locally and there is no need of going to the hospitals in the nearby towns but instead unscrupulous clinics placed at shopping centres perform FGM at a cost of Ksh. 2,000 per person.
With the campaign against FGM hitting the tracks across the country everyday, there still are areas the message is hitting the dead end, Kisii. Lately, Gusii land has been heading the news with all bad publicity starting from poor schools’ performance to witch hunting and i guess it will still come to the headlines with FGM. Our President was moved the other day with the story of a woman who had to leave her husband so that she can go back to school even at the age of 28 but i wonder how many other cases of young girls out there who are locked down in the jaws of marriage but still want to get back to school.
It is a norm, a tradition and no shock at all to find girls wrapped in lessos or blankets every year with a group of women surrounding them and singing joyfully on the road immediately after the girls have undergone the cut. Even though this trend has since changed to a more private affair, FGM is still practised. In the recent times, individual parents organize for their girl to be circumcised either at home or in a nearby clinic without involving the neighbours. it is more of a private affair involving the parents and their girls.
The truth remains clear that all these girls are aware of their bodies and that they always wish for the day they undergo that rite of passage because all their elder sisters and older friends/neighbours have. They fear the stigma that girls who have not undergone the cut are not real women and are faced with ridicule within the society. I have witnessed a case where a girl sneaked out of her parents home to join her neighbour’s girls for FGM, the neighbour had no choice but include her together with her daughter to undergo the cut. Once the parents realized, the girl had already been circumcised and were supposed to pay the bill.
Chiefs and Sub-Chiefs now this practise very well and can easily identify every family by name and location since they live with them. They understand the practise and some of them actually have their daughters undergo the same rite. They are supposed to be the voice of reason but are camouflaged within their uniforms and shining in traditions. Alot needs to be done here.
Take FGM campaigns to schools, make it part of the curriculum every child learn in schools so that the jaws of prejudice and tradition does not overtake their purpose to deny. Let the girls be the voice more than their parents and sub-chief because it is through these girls that a better future can be met. As much as the tradition is dying away slowly, more efforts have to be put in place to clear the vice at once. Almost all adult women from this region have undergone the practise but let the next generation be the change we can believe in.