Kenya has seen a setback in its progress to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) after an open parade in defiance of the government clampdown on the practice took place this week.
Almost 2,800 girls from the Kuria community in south-western Kenya have undergone FGM, which involves the removal of the outer layers of female genitalia and sometimes the clitoris, in the past three weeks, say local activists.
Every day since late September, girls who have undergone the practice have been paraded in the region’s main urban centres, where they have been showered with gifts, including cash. The gifts, according to the activists, are designed to encourage other young girls to undergo FGM.
Kenya is viewed as a regional champion in the fight against FGM and the parades will be seen as a setback to government efforts to eradicate the practice by 2022.
A 2020 report by Unicef states that Kenya’s progress towards the eradication of FGM is stronger than that of other nations in eastern or southern Africa. The report states that more than 4 million girls and women in the country have undergone FGM. But last year Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, put the figure at 9.3 million.
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