First Lady Margaret Advocates For Alternative Rites Of Passage To Replace FGM

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta[Photo: NNN]

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has lobbied stakeholders and communities to support the adoption of alternative rites of passage that involve mentorship to replace Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The First Lady spoke in Nairobi on Monday during the launch of the Johari Beads Bracelet initiative, a program of the Government and partners to promote the trade in beads in support of efforts to end FGM in the country by next year.

The proposal is to take girls through a 15-day initiation programme comprising of sessions on mentorship into adulthood, healthy relationships, life skills training, basic home economics and the art of bead making is, indeed, welcome and the way forward,” she said.

The First Lady also urged responsible state agencies to not relent in their efforts to end FGM.

I also encourage our elders, as the custodians of culture, and all those who support them, including youth and women organizations, development partners, as well as civil society and religious organizations to maintain this strong momentum towards eliminating FGM. We owe it to our women and girls.”

According to her, FGM poses long-term health risks to young women and often leads to school dropout and early marriages, thus compromising the opportunities for social and economic advancement for the affected girls.

She also welcomed the Johari’s business initiative – which is a partnership between UNFPA, the Anti-FGM Board, Ushanga Kenya Initiative and EcoBank, noting its potential to significantly empower women from the pastoral and other communities that practice beadwork.

As such, I see it as a major step towards the noble agenda of the Government to eliminate FGM. To achieve gender equality as required by our constitution and ensure that Kenyan women realzse their full potential we must, and I repeat, we must end FGM.”

This comes as Kenya has joined the rest of the world in marking the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

The Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) was illuminated in bold orange colours to mark the start of the 16 days.

The event was organized by the government in partnership with UN Women Kenya, a number of women’s rights groups, state actors and gender-based violence survivors

The international campaign runs every year for 16 days starting 25th of November, on the International Day for the Eradication of Violence against Women.

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