Nairobi, April 12, 2018 – Today, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Amref Health Africa, together with the Governors of Marsabit and Samburu Counties, and the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, launched a new approach to ending child marriage and eradicating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) through partnership with clan elders and youth leaders. The three-year “Koota Injena” (“Come let us talk”) project, made possible by a grant of Ksh372.5 million from the U.S. Government, will work with vulnerable girls who are at risk of child marriage and FGM in the Rendille, Borana, Gabra, and Samburu communities.
Koota Injena will engage clan elders and facilitate intergenerational dialogue with youth leaders to spread knowledge of the dangers of child marriage and FGM. Amref Health Africa Group CEO Dr. Githinji Gitahi highlighted the Alternative Rite of Passage as an example of an approach to eliminate FGM and end child marriage that retains community cultural values and important rites of passage.
Speaking during the Koota Injena launch, USAID Mission Director Tina Dooley-Jones noted, “Research has shown that because of child marriage, girls are less likely to stay in and succeed in school, achieve economic independence and financial stability for their families, and be resilient. Moreover, by marrying young, girls are more exposed to sexual and domestic violence, and suffer from higher rates of early pregnancy, pregnancy complications, and maternal death.”
The harmful practices of FGM and child marriage are integrally linked. According to UNICEF, 9.3 million women and girls in Kenya (27 percent) have undergone genital mutilation. Samburu and Marsabit counties recorded significantly high rates of FGM/C of 86 percent and 91.7 percent, respectively. These communities also have high rates of child marriage. The Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Prof. Margaret Kobia reiterated the Government of Kenya’s commitment to addressing both child marriage and FGM and ensuring that all girls are able to access and complete their education.
For more information, please contact:
Kimberly Burns Case
Senior Regional Development Outreach and Communication Advisor
+254 706 033 203, [email protected]