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.