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UN confident FGM can be kicked out of Kenya

31 October 2014, 15:20

Nairobi - The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki- moon on Thursday launched a media-led campaign against circumcision of teenage girls in some Kenyan communities.

Ban said harmful cultural practices like female cut and early marriages were detrimental to Kenya's economic and social progress.

"Change can happen through sustained media attention on the damaging public health consequences of female genital mutilation," he told journalists during the launch in Nairobi.

Ban revealed the UN will partner with Kenyan media outlets to sensitize communities against circumcising their girls.

"Not only do we hope to support the Kenyan media in bringing the issue of female genital mutilation to national and global attention, but we hope to create a media model that can be reproduced in other countries," he said.

The UN chief also announced two initiatives to encourage Kenyan media professionals to raise the visibility of female cut.

"In Kenya, five joint UNFPA-Guardian female cut reporting grants will be awarded to a number of Kenya's leading media houses to help support their reporting on the issue," Ban told campaigners and media owners.

Read also: Kenya steps up Ebola prevention efforts

He added that a joint UNFPA-Guardian international female cut reporting Award will be granted to an African reporter who has demonstrated unwavering commitment to covering the topic. He said the international community will support homegrown interventions to abolish female cut.

UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said circumcision is violation of girls' rights.

"A girl child is the most vulnerable demographic due to retrogressive practices like circumcision. Ending female cut will improve health and social indicators in countries," Osotimehin said.

An estimated 27 percent of Kenyan girls and women have undergone the cut. Cabinet Secretary for Devolution, Ann Waiguru said Kenya has passed legislation to end female genital mutilation.

"Kenya is committed to the UN resolution 67/146 on accelerating efforts towards the elimination of female circumcision," Waiguru said.

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