EA countries' commitment key to zero FGM Featured

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) may not end in Kenya unless its counterpart neighbouring countries commit towards the same agenda.

Equality Now, End Harmful Practices, Program Officer Ms Felister Gitonga says lack of harmonious restrictive regulations on FGM across the East African nations complicates Kenya's drive to protect girls and women from the vice.

"Why does cross-border FGM happen in the first place? It is because one country has restrictive laws and another doesn't," she says.

"It becomes difficult to combat FGM when neighbouring countries cannot dialogue on ways to end it," she adds.
Kenya and Uganda are the only countries in East Africa with specific anti-FGM laws. But Kenya has led in the fight.

During the February 6, commemoration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM at Alale in West Pokot, Pokot elders from Kenya and Uganda, committed to protecting their women and girls.

Tripartite initiative
The declaration made possible through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)-United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) Joint Program on the Elimination of FGM, gives hope of continued collaboration between the neighbouring community leaders in the strive to safeguard rights of women and girls in both countries.

Similarly, out of Kenya's power of dialogue, Ethiopia and Somalia joined in an originally tripartite initiative to end FGM in East Africa.
In 2018, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania had under the facilitation of the joint program, agreed to collectively combat the vice during an international conference on ending FGM held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. There were representatives from ministries of Gender from the respective countries.

Kenya, however, later reached out to the two countries resulting to the April 2019, adoption of the declaration and action plan to end cross-border FGM at an inaugural regional inter-ministerial meeting held in Mombasa, Kenya.

“The meeting (was) the first of its kind in the history of global efforts to eradicate FGM,” states UNFPA in its website post.

Among these countries Somalia leads with highest prevalence rates (97.9 per cent) of FGM for women and girls aged 15-49 years; followed by Ethiopia (65.2 per cent).This is according to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Call For A Global (2020) report by Equality Now.
Kenya comes third with 21 per cent, then Tanzania (10 per cent) and Uganda (0.3 per cent).

Source: nation