Kenya: A New Approach to Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation
Monday, January 15, 2018 7:35 PM

A new approach to educating tribal leaders has helped reduce the number of young girls subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) in Kenya. The rate of female genital mutilation has dropped globally by 14% in the last three decades. In Kenya, the rates have fallen more than twice that fast. In 2011, Kenya outlawed FGM. In 2014, a special unit for investigating FGM cases opened, prosecuting seventy-six cases in the first two years.  One advocate, Ms. Nice Leng’ete, has helped 50,000 girls avoid an FGM ritual through a culturally-sensitive and village-by-village approach. 

As reported in the New York Times, Ms. Leng’ete, a Maasai native, has worked to convince village elders that “everyone would be healthier and wealthier if girls stayed in school, married later and gave birth without the complications that [FGM] can create.” As of 2014, 1.5 million Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania formally abandoned the deeply-rooted tradition of forcing young girls to undergo FGM. Today, Ms. Leng’ete works for Amref, a Kenyan health organization, and plans alternative rites of passage for young girls. These new rites generally involve sexual health and adolescent development education.

Compiled from: Moore, Gina, She Ran From the Cut, and Helped Thousands of Other Girls Escape, Too, The New York Times (January 13, 2018)