Samburu Women Trust has been implementing a project with kind support from the Africa-Led Movement-The Girl Generation(ALM-TGG): “Strengthening communities driven initiatives in eradicating FGM in Isiolo County.”
Although legal restrictions have been found to reduce the rate of FGM/C, they have also been found to drive the practice underground. Eric Maber, a police officer at Oldonyiro police station, brought to our attention that, there is a high prevalence of FGM/C in Oldonyiro but there are no cases being reported. This is because, the community members when planning for FGM, they go far away from Oldonyiro to places where the law enforcers cannot access. Tension still exists between those who want to eradicate FGM/C and others who want to keep it going during these stages of quitting it. FGM/C is a deeply ingrained cultural practice that many view as essential to their sense of being, so we must approach the topic with considerable care and comprehend the reasons behind this tradition. Organizations working towards ending Female Genital Mutilation, it’s crucial to collaborate with communities which still hold this practice essential, to assess the effects of the practice if FGM/C is to be totally eradicated.
The refusal to comply with anti-FGM/C regulations, the reluctance to produce evidence against family members, acquaintances, or neighbors, the criticism or ridicule of law enforcement officials are all indications that a culture of FGM/C is being supported. Eric Maber said that, “FGM in Oldonyiro is very high but unfortunately, it’s not reported because of the cultural issue among the community members and if they report, they will be victimized in a way. So, there is a conflict between the traditional law and the Kenyan law.”
Local law enforcers and FGM/C campaigners (such as pastors, chiefs, assistant chiefs, police, and other leaders) may occasionally face a conflict of loyalties when upholding the law because doing so puts them at odds with the community’s culture. While making harmful cultural practices like FGM/C illegal is vital, doing so can also inspire resistance aimed at disobeying or defying the government.
Samburu Women Trust has been engaging the law enforcers in order to join efforts to end FGM in Oldonyiro Ward, Isiolo county. The law enforcers face a lot of challenges in ending FGM. The fact that there’s no a female officer makes it difficult for the FGM victims to open up about what happened to them thus causing more trauma to the victims.
Department of gender, department of children, NGOs, CBOs which are working towards eradicating FGM should join efforts and construct rescue centres in Oldonyiro which will serve as safe spaces for the FGM victims.