Image

The new bill outlawing FGM in Kenya

Published: Tuesday 1 November, 2011



On 7th September 2011 the Kenyan Government passed a bill outlawing female circumcision or FGM. The new law, proposed in 2010 by Mt. Elgon MP Fred Kapondi, has been passed in the third year of the UNICEF and UNFPA Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. The programme is being implemented across fifteen African countries, and aims to see communities abandon FGM in a generation. UNICEF and the UNFPA are emphasising “accelerated change”, after decades of campaigning has yielded improved awareness but little evidence of actual abandonment. See the UNFPA website for more detail.

Last week, the programme also sponsored an international conference on FGM hosted by the University of Nairobi (picture; see conference website). Key discussions at the conference focussed on the implementation of the new act in Kenya, recent medical research on the consequences of FGM, and community campaigns on the issue. Also up for discussion was the proposal to establish an African centre for research and leadership on the abandonent of FGM, to be based in Nairobi. This conference presented some very useful findings, such as recent statistics from across Africa, but was also important in terms of the ways in which female circumcision is framed and conceptualised by the international development community.

In what ways and to what extent Kenya’s prohibition of FGM will be enforced is still to emerge. In the Marakwet community, where Professor Moore has been researching female initiation and social change, she has already observed the ways in which initiation ceremonies are sensitive to wider national and international political pressures. Whilst the law will provide support and reinforcement for those campaigning to end the practice, previous national debate on the issue in fact resulted in an increase of circumcision ceremonies, as families sought to pre-empt any clampdown on the practice. Professor Moore is continuing her research on the issue, and will be exploring the ways in which Marakwet people perceive and engage with the new law, how it affects people’s ideas of ‘culture’ and ‘tradition’, and its implications regarding wider social and cultural change in the region.

Share this article:




Recent Posts

Time for a new prosperity, rooted in a symbiotic relationship with nature

Commentary

The independent review on The Economics of Biodiversity led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta has now been delivered to the government. The report underlines our failure to grasp that our economies are “embedded within Nature, and not external to it.” We rely on nature to “provide us with food, water and shelter; regulate our climate and disease; maintain nutrient cycles and oxygen production; and provide us with spiritual fulfilment and opportunities for recreation and recuperation which can enhance our health and well-being.”

Read More

Co-designing solutions to Lebanon’s energy crisis

Commentary

On 4 August 2020, a massive explosion at Beirut’s port killed at least 200 people and caused up to $15bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure – including the destruction of the public electricity company building. It was the latest blow for a country battling a 30-year energy crisis and facing chronic shortages as a result of an ageing infrastructure based around fossil fuels.

Read More

Reinvigorating local economies through Universal Basic Services, not income

Commentary

In 1945, the UK’s welfare state was set up to address the want, need and misery caused by unemployment. Seventy-five years later, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had almost full employment in the UK – and yet we still have massive levels of poverty and precarity experienced by people in work.

Read More