By Waiswa Wafula
A total of 40 teenage girls from the Maasai Community have graduated at Eseneto Baptist Church in Suswa, Narok East Sub-County after undergoing alternative rite of passage training.
Through a mentorship programme that lasted a week organized by a non-governmental organization “AfyAfrika,” the women retained their cultural celebrations of the rights of passage without undergoing the cut.
Catherine Rotian, the organization’s Executive Director said the initiative focuses on the Suswa Area from the past statistics showing the area’s high prevalence of teenage pregnancies.
“Schools in Suswa area have had surging cases of teenage pregnancies that is mainly attributed to FGM. That is why we chose to train girls in this area before moving to other parts of Narok,” she said.
She said the mentorship programme trained the girls on the effects of FGM, sexual reproductive health, drug abuse and leadership skills showing confidence that after the training, the girls will be able to return to school and complete their education.
“During the training, the girls were very positive and asked questions of things relevant to their lives. I believe they have a changed mind and will go out to preach Anti-FGM messages to their colleagues who were not able attend the training,” she added.
Ms. Rotian, being a Maasai Native, called upon the elders and community leaders to stop the retrogressive cultural practice so that it can end in the society as they continue sensitizing the locals on the harmful impacts of FGM.
“Community dialogue involving parents and boys as key stakeholders will also play a big role in ending the outlawed cultural practice. I call upon everyone to come on board so that together we can help our girls lead a decent life,” she reiterated.
A beneficiary of the programme, Rosalyne Silole, 16 said the training was timely and informative to the girls.
“We are grateful for the initiative because now we have a reason of saying NO to FGM and early marriages,” she said.
Ismael Omar, a community health partner said the circumcisers have agreed to drop their tools and engage in productive activities after the organization reached out.
“We will help the circumcisers to engage in other productive businesses that will give alternative means of livelihood,” said Omar.
Over 15,542 teenage girls became pregnant in the year 2020 according to data from the Narok Department of health, which has escalated due to the rampant cases of FGM making the girls feel mature enough to indulge in sexual activities.
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