Today, Saturday 6th February 2021 is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Zero Tolerance Day. This year’s theme is, ‘No Time for Global Inaction: Unite, Fund, and Act to End FGM.’ Co-inciding with this awareness-raising day, The Maa Trust is conducting a FGM Community Ambassadors training workshop. 24 anti-FGM ambassadors are receiving training on the vices of the FGM and how they can support their communities to end FGM.
To begin the day, the ambassadors were given a chance to introduce themselves and express their views about FGM and say what they expect to gain from the training.
“As a Christian and also from attending many seminars about FGM, I have come to learn that FGM is not important. What I have learnt, I have advised others and I have also adopted the same for my own family. I have learnt that women suffer from circumcision. This has made me decide that my eight daughters will not undergo circumcision. This does not affect their character and no one should stigmatise them by that, my daughters are very humble and respectful.” Rantaine Ole Lareto, one of the trainees.
The training workshop includes men and women from different villages across Maasai Mara. From comments made during the workshop, the participants have indicated that many people in the community are changing their opinions about FGM and that community members have the interest to learn more about child rights and what they can do to protect their children.
“For many years with my fellow women, including my co-wives, I have come to witness and realize that many circumcised women struggle and suffer a lot when giving birth but uncircumcised women give birth without very many challenges. We convince ourselves that our girls should undergo circumcision to gain knowledge or as a rite of passage, but I have come to realize that knowledge is not circumcision but education. I am going to be an ambassador and advise my fellow women why they should not circumcise their girl child.” Martha Kinyikita, one of the trainees.
With support from Crossing Borders and MMWCA, The Maa Trust is working together with community members to advance child rights in Maasai Mara, by addressing child rights violation including FGM.
“FGM remains one of the key barriers to education and it subjects children to trauma. But with the Crossing Borders child rights programme, the children of Maasai Mara will get a chance to learn about their rights and receive psychosocial support when needed. This will be provided in their villages and schools. Thank you Crossing Borders.” Isaac Tobiko, Child Counselor, The Maa Trust.
The training workshop is being led by experienced trainers with well-versed experience as FGM community facilitators.
“Marking Zero tolerance, let’s stop the stigma of ‘uncut’ girls and embrace the change that is coming to society. Knowledge is power, embrace change and say no to stigma.” Rachel Resiato, Alternative Rite of Passage Champion (ARP).
The Maa Trust is committed to continuing to work with the Maasai Mara communities to end FGM and other forms of violence against children, in line with Kenyan government directives and Sustainable Development (SDG) goal 5.