Kenya needs innovative strategy to fight FGM- says UN official

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Kenya requires an innovative and community-sensitive strategy to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a United Nations official said on Monday.

Werner Schultink, UN Children and Education Fund Kenya Representative, said in spite of existing laws, most communities are still subjecting young girls secretly into the practice.

“We have to improve on collection of data and dissemination, enhance behavior change and collaborate with religious leaders to enable us to end the vice by 2030 as planned,’’ Schultink said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

He said that the country has made some strides in recent years, and it requires intensive approaches to help reduce the number further.

“We must shift approaches and listen to the voices of girls and young women as they are the ones that are directly affected,’’ Schultink noted.

According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2014, the country’s national FGM prevalence rate dropped from 27 per cent in 2009 to 21 percent.

The Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Sicily Kariuki attributed the success to enforcement of laws against FGM that has been greatly enhanced by the establishment of gender desks in police stations and the training of chosen policemen on gender issues.

Kariuki however reiterated that FGM is the one of the severest forms of Gender Based Violence, hence the need to fight it to the end.

“Communities that continue to practice the vice secretly through medicalisation or under cover of cultural and religious celebrations have to be enlightened to stop the practice,’’ she noted.

In 2016 alone, 55 cutters in the country came out in the open to renounce the practice and burnt their paraphernalia.

Young men have also come in the open to declare their willingness to marry uncut women.

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