Kenya: YWCA Program Teaches Girls to Say “No” to Female Genital Mutilation
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 9:00 AM

Kezia Bianca was only 15 when she was “circumcised” and her clitoris was removed. Since that day, she has vowed to share her story and fight the practice of female genital mutilation (“FGM”) in Kenya.

In Bianca’s community the practice was seen as a rite of passage; once girls had been ”circumcised,” they were ready for marriage. Practice is beginning to change, however. Bianca runs a program at the YWCA where she teaches girls how to say “no” to FGM and educates them on their rights. The girls then graduate from the training, which is meant to serve as an alternative rite of passage.

In addition, Bianca and her coworkers educate parents on the dangers and legal aspects of FGM. The YWCA also provides career training to the women who conduct the circumcisions, who often rely on the harmful practice to earn a living. Since beginning the program, there has been a significant decrease in the prevalence of FGM in Bianca's community.

Compiled from: Kezia Bianca, “Female Genital Mutilation – My Story,” Women Leading Change (23 May 2012).