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Communities urged to end Female Genital Mutilation

07 February 2014, 11:11 Nechesa Chemoi

Tana River - The marking of the International day against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on Thursday was dominated by calls to end the practice, terming it as old.

Led by newly appointed chairperson of the Anti FGM Boar, Linah Jebii Kilimo, in Garsen, local leaders and civil society members demanded for concrete steps to stop the vice, terming it as a harmful practice to the wellbeing of girls and women.

“Legislation, public education, advocacy, media coverage, empowerment of women and access to reproductive health are some of the measures that could go a long way to eradicate FGM,” said Kilimo.

She said the Children's Act empowers the courts to punish those who facilitate or practice FGM for children below 18 years while the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation gives impetus to the anti-FGM campaign, adding that her organization will focus on advocacy for girl’s education as well as sensitizing mothers, men and boys on the diverse issues related to FGM.

Kilimo was representing devolution and planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru at the function and commended the government for demonstrating its commitment to gender equality and women empowerment through establishment of the Anti FGM Board, pledging to work with other stakeholders to achieve zero tolerance to the practice.

"The future well being of our women and girls depends on our collective action. Let us work together to protect them," she emphasized.

FGM is a barrier to women and girls' enjoyment of their full potential and it is expected that its elimination in communities where it is considered a mandatory rite of passage will enable women and girls to reclaim their human dignity and respect.

UN Secretary General in a message read on his behalf by UNICEF's Child Protection Specialist, Zeinab Ahmed pointed out that the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM presented an opportunity to refocus attention on this persistent problem and find ways to terminate it.

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