POSITIVE CHOICES, END FGM/C PROJECT
The Positive Choices Towards the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Kuria is a project jointly implemented by YWCA Kenya and Education Centre for the Advancement of Women (ECAW), funded by Feed the Minds (FTM) UK.
The project focused on the two villages of Maeta and Nyankore – in Kuria District, Migori County. Kuria is ranked as one of the poorest districts in Kenya and faces several challenges that include; poor infrastructure, insecurity, lack of credit facilities, low levels of literacy, inadequate facilities including lack of offices for Government employees, food insecurity high incidence of poverty, high population growth rate, environmental degradation and gender inequality.
This poverty, coupled with the perceived economic gain of FGM/C, and cultural practices contribute to a relative high prevalence of FGM/C on girls between age 7 and 15 years in Kuria.
- School visits for awareness creation to girls and boys on FGM/C
- The peer educator outreaches
- Engagement of teachers
- Engagement of clan of elders
- Community outreaches by paralegals
- Girls Empowerment Program – GEP forums
- Engagement of medical professionals to sensitize communities on the negative effects of FGM/C
- Mothers’ and fathers’ Workshops
- Media Activities for increased community sensitization on FGM/C
- Girls Empowerment Sessions: plus graduation in Nyankore and in Maeta, 30 people attending both GEPs and graduation ceremony in each district.
- Parents’ sensitization and awareness raising workshops: In Nyankore and Maeta regions, 60 people attended both sessions in each district.
- Door to door visits by paralegals
- Community Leader Forums: 30 leaders identified as champions.
- Weekly school clubs across 4 schools
- Capacity building trainings of Paralegals
- Capacity building trainings of Peer educators
- Youth and Community Forums
- Clan leader visits: Elderly male paralegals visit 4 members of the Clan of Elders once a month
- Media Outreach: radio sessions.
- Sustained Public Dialogues on FGM/C
More conversations on FGM took place. This was observed in the community, fathers/mothers and youth forums. Previously the conversations were considered taboo subjects and only referred to in spaces considered safe from other community members.
- Controlled Monetary Expectation /Changed Mindsets
The common practice in project implementation in the region is to offer transport reimbursement and food during community sessions. This is based on distances the participants travel and the time spend at the forums. Based on the poverty levels most participants would attend such sessions with the motive of getting food and money for use. After several sessions more community members begun to attend for the reason of gaining knowledge and improving their self-worth. There was a decrease in incidences where money was the incentive for attendance
- Exchange Program with Centre for Community Mobilization and Empowerment (CECOME)
CECOME is a community based organization in Kisii which aims to promote gender rights and end the practice of FGM. Kisii is a region in Kenya that borders Kuria and FGM is a cultural tradition that is still practiced in the region. The organization visited the Kuria project to learn best practices that could be replicated in their program. Of particular interest to them was the Participatory approach to problem solving.
- Strengthened Family Unit
As families are brought together to discuss FGM It is envisioned that the conversations will form the basis of strong family ties. The results are still not clear as this is an indicator that is not easy to measure immediately. However, 11 families were involved in the mothers and fathers workshop. 11 couples, 6 from Nyabirongo and 5 from Romangucha benefited from the project, where the husbands were involved in the fathers workshop and the wives in the mothers workshop. The couples shared how the learning has been of importance to them during the parents’ workshop. One couple gave feedback, that from the forums they have learnt that it is their responsibility to ensure that their girls are not cut or influenced to go for the cut and they can help talking about FGM and why girls should not go through the cut. The families also learnt that when solving family issues both the mother and the father have a key role to play and must do this jointly.
- Girls mentorship sessions
Using the YWCA mentorship guide girls have been mentored on a wide selection of topics. The mentorship classes as indicated by parents and teachers have improved the girl’s self-esteem, their ability to negotiate on issues that affect them and are acting as anti-FGM crusaders amongst their peers. Clearly the girls benefiting will not allow their daughters to undergo the cut so this acts as a long term strategy to the elimination of FGM. The mentorship sessions were also expanded to include menstrual hygiene management.