Organisations intensify cross border initiatives to end FGM in Tarime

10Jul 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Organisations intensify cross border initiatives to end FGM in Tarime

TRADITIONAL elders from Tarime District Mara Region have joined efforts with their Kenyan counterparts to embrace a joint anti FGM campaign ahead of the forthcoming cultural initiation ceremonies conducted by communities in the bordering villages.

FGM.

These initiatives complement a recently launched anti FGM campaign by two non-governmental organisations Education Centre for the Advancement of Women in Tanzania (ECAW TZ) and a Kenya based Universal Relief Foundation (URF), who jointly launched efforts towards ending the practice at the border.

The elders from both Kenya and Tanzania gathered to discuss concerns and strategies of how they will deal with cases that will cross over to Kenya for the ritual.

Already, authorities in the Tanzanian side have issued a stern warning to anyone including parents whose daughters will be found to have undergone cut saying stern action will be taken against them.

A spot check conducted by The Guardian across the porous border between the two countries has revealed tricks by some parents to evade the law enforcers during the "cut" including dressing the girls in men’s attires alongside the boys which makes it difficult for the authorities to differentiate.

ECAW Tanzania director Bhoke Angella Mwita says its only through concerted efforts like involving authorities from both sides that the practice will be contained along the boarders.

December is fast approaching, our girls are now being prepared for the cut. We have to work together to save our girls, this is human rights violation,” said Mwita.

Other tricks that have been identified include performing the ceremonies during the night at undisclosed locations as well as crossing over to the neighbouring country where the practice is also deep rooted.

Zachary Marwa, the elders' chairman from the Kenyan side said apart from holding a joint anti-FGM campaign the initiative also brings together a coordinated effort to conducting an awareness guidelines to youths from both sides against involvement in criminal activities such as cattle rustling and unnecessary inter-clans fighting.

"We are of the view that once we complete this awareness campaign, the

Community as well as would-be FGM proponents will find no safe

heaven to hide and conduct the inhumane operation that is seriously

Violating the girls' right to education and social gender welfare," said Marwa

According to Sister Stella Mgaya from the Association for the termination of FGM (ATFGM) who are coordinating the initiative, “traditional elders as well as the circumcisors from all twelve clans that make up the Kurya community will receive  grants  as start-up capital to conduct income generating projects as an optional basis to FGM."

She revealed that some perpetrators had turned the vice into a source of

income at the expense of the vulnerable girls and were not willing to give up the practice as it is their only source of income.

Each initiation period, the centre situated at the outskirts of Tarime

Central business District receives hundreds of girls running away from

the “cut" where they are sheltered and accorded opportunity to continue

their studies.

Uncircumcised girls are usually mocked by colleagues who have gone through the ritual by calling them names thus stigmatising them. Men are also said to avoid marrying uncircumcised girls.

According to sister Mgaya, there is need for joint collaboration with a clear memorandum of understanding on the campaign against FGM as this will help deal with the rooted practice.

 

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