I Love and Hate Them Community Declarations against FGM!

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So far I have attended and witness several community public declarations against FGM in different communities within Kenya. The singing, dancing and feasting that normally accompanies them brings joy and togetherness and it’s all enjoyable.Community members forget all their problems for a moment and are united for a common cause; protecting the girl child from FGM and other forms of GBV. But the question begs what happens prior to and after these declarations?

A public declaration is just like a university/college graduation. The amount of merry and joy accompanying the ceremony does not influence the grade you get. In reality the grade is determined by the cumulative effort over the period of study. You may forget and make merry at the graduation day but the hard reality will eventually sink after all the merry is gone.

Same theory applies in the public declarations the success of the function may be seen at the face value to mean the number of community members, elders, religious leaders, government officials, media houses, name them; who turned up for the event. But in real sense the build-up is key.

Actualization of these declarations and what happens afterwards largely depends on how many community dialogues, sensitization’s and build-up activities have been successfully held prior to the big day. But in most cases we tend to put a lot of focus on the big day and totally forget the buildup activities and what happens after the dust settles down in terms of follow-up activities.

In my view it’s time we invested more resources in the build-up activities culminating in public declarations and the follow up/implementation of the promises thereafter. This will not only increase efficiency but also ensure actualization of the declaration promises………

Remember united we shall make this world a better place for women, girls and all of us.

 

 

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Tony Mwebia

Tony Mwebia

Social Worker, Writer, Advocate, Activist & Consultant

There are 6 comments

  1. True that about the article
    It also.take s me back ARP’s that have happened since time immemorial and there is still no change. Long term tapping to the mind of the entire community is pretty much necessary than few days events involving a section of the community.

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  2. Totally agree! When we first started with ARP,s in Pokot I kept hearing how this action had been held severally by high profile organisations where they rolled into town, took girls for a “camp”, they “graduated” then when the organisation left, the same girls went to have FGM performed wearing the very same T.shirts they wore for the ARP.
    Our most recent ARP was held in Muino, a remote area with high rates of FGM.
    This event took place following a year of community mobilisation. On Feb 6th. ’17, World Zero FGM day, @beyond_fgm held a big day of sensitisation/awareness raising in the main village on market day, led by the Chiefs. In October we held a 3 day seminars and workshops with nearly 80 TBA,s (local midwives), when 8 circumcisers came out and declared to abandon the practice . In November we held another 3 day forum with well over 100 men , sensitising and demonstrating exactly what happens to a girl during FGM and subsequent problems in childbirth. Feedback was amazing in that the men were very sympathetic towards women and girls who undergo FGM and suffering involved. They declared they had no idea prior to said forum.
    This serious robust groundwork lead to one of our most successful ARP,s thus far (since 2010) when 350 girls attended a week of seminars and workshops and took part in a massive ARP which gained much public engagement since this was held on market day. We received very good media coverage.
    Of course we must now do the necessary follow up to ensure the community accepts that FGM must end and girls be allowed to continue education and chose their own path in life.

    Reply

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