Amref Health Africa in Kenya through the Yes I Do (YIDA) project held an Alternative Rite of Passage (ARP) training and graduation ceremony engaging both girls and boys from Indupa Location, Kajiado County. During the four-day training, a total of 78 girls graduated into womanhood at the Alternative Rite of Passage celebration. The week started with training sessions on a variety of topics including reproductive health, the dangers of female genital mutilation (FGM), early marriage, teenage pregnancy, life skills and children’s rights.
Girls who had gone through the ARP before and acquired higher levels of education gave words of encouragement to the young boys and girls to set pace for their future. In addition, 40 boys were trained on why FGM is an outdated cultural practice that deprives girls of their bright future and they promised to take good care of their sisters so that no one forces them to undergo ‘the cut.’
A candle night-out event was held on the eve of the graduation ceremony and featured a beauty pageant, whose purpose was to empower the girls to build their self-esteem and to be leading voices in the Maasai Community. During the graduation ceremony, all the girls received stationery and writing materials to emphasize the value of education. The cultural elders of Indupa blessed their daughters wishing them nothing short of success in their newly found resolve to attain their potential in education. “We give you powers to READ.”
Guest speaker Mr Samuel Masese who is the Kajiado County Coordinator for Children’s Services declared Indupa FGM free and persuaded the girls not to hesitate to dial the number 116 in case of any emergency.
Yes I Do Alliance Coordinator and Project Manager David Kawai applauded the 78 girls who consistently attended the pre-ARP sexual reproductive health and rights training sessions and graduated into womanhood without ‘the cut.’
“The mothers who always point out that their daughters are of age for FGM have denounced FGM today. The cultural elders have rallied behind the women in full support of their decision. Wow!! I can only urge the girls to Read, Read and read!” said Millicent Ondigo, Yes I Do Project Officer.