Enhanced community surveillance to stop Holiday FGM

In light of 16 Days of Activism, an international campaign to end violence against girls and women, Tunaweza Empowerment organized radio talk shows to enhance awareness, commitment and action to stop female genital mutilation. 

When schools close for the long holidays, it is important to accelerate actions to protect young girls from Female Genital Mutilation. Tunaweza Empowerment, based in Kuria, Migori County, Kenya and through the support of Global Media Campaign to End FGM carried out radio talk shows at Radio Togotane 88.3 FM targeting over 300,000 listeners to increase awareness to prevent girls from undergoing the cut. The show included local police, female campaigners and youth advocates.

The panellists discussed the different community interventions that are in place to ensure a reduction in FGM, particularly while schools in Kenya have closed for the long holidays, which increases the vulnerability of the girls.

Strategies to prepare and respond to the dangers of FGM include:

  • Creating awareness through community dialogues, barazas (public meetings) and radio talk shows.
  • Engagement with the elders and reformed cutters to rally the community towards ending FGM.
  • Security cross-border meetings for increased coordination, intelligence sharing and quick response to FGM cases across the Kenyan–Tanzania border.
  • Strengthening reporting mechanisms using the free toll number, pasha mobile app and community monitors.
  • Enabling local chiefs to gather information and identify any preparation for FGM.
  • The establishment temporary holding centres for receiving girls at risk or those who have already undergone violence.
  • Scholarships to support vulnerable girls to further their education.

Campaigner Vincent Ogallo Mwita and his time also worked with six community monitors from #FrontlineEndingFGM to ensure everyone closely collaborates with police. This is to ensure enhanced security surveillance, reporting and action to prevent further cutting the villages.

Success of the campaign:

  • The radio show reached over 100,000 listeners with “End FGM” messages from the police, women leaders and the youth advocates present as panellists.
  • Through the discussions, one community member in Ntyange Village was able to give reports for the arrest of a woman cutter, and 6 girls were rescued from undergoing FGM and the perpetrator taken to court.
  • Community Monitors continue to work with police to ensure the prevention of FGM and any suspected cases within the villages are reported. 
  • More community champions joined the campaign (About 12 young people); after requesting during the discussions to join.
  • Police have taken action against those perpetuating FGM and 3 arrests were made of suspects, with trials ongoing at the Kehancha law courts.
#FrontlineEndingFGM in Kuria-Kenya, lobbied and linked up with police and other frontline partners towards facilitating the arrest of suspected perpetrators of female genital mutilation.

There is fear of an increase in the number of girls who are likely to undergo FGM due to emerging trends in the practice and a recent reported case of 7 girls cut in Mabera sub-county during the school holiday.

Due to such cases, it is important that we continue to create awareness and target grassroots community members with information on the effects of FGM, uphold laws against cutting and ensure punitive measures for the perpetrators.