Kenya: Protect girls by enforcing FGM and child marriage laws

UPDATE 30 JANUARY 2014: Between November and December 2013, Equality Now supported our Kenyan partner Women Rights Institute for Peace in providing shelter to 45 runaway girls at the Sandai rescue centre in Baringo. Happily, the girls are safe and have returned back to school. However, until protective measures are put in place, particularly during FGM mass mutilation seasons, girls in at-risk communities will remain in danger.

In response to advocacy, the Kenyan government took a positive step forward by creating an Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Board and appointing the Honourable Linah Jebii Kilimo as Chairperson in December 2013. Hon. Kilimo was instrumental in passing Kenya’s Anti-FGM Bill in 2011 and has been actively working with governmental and non-governmental organizations to eradicate FGM. Equality Now and our partners welcome these developments and urge the government to work closely with the Anti-FGM Board to fulfill its mandate as described in the Prohibition of FGM Act of 2011 (Section 5).

Please continue to call on  Kenyan national and local governments, authorities and the Anti-FGM Board to work together to protect girls by: enforcing laws against FGM and child marriage, educating the public on the harms of these human rights violations, and supporting girls escaping FGM and child marriage.

Thank you for your support.

Equality Now has been monitoring multiple cases of Kenyan girls running away from their homes or avoiding going home from school during holidays to escape female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, particularly during the August and December school holidays when mass mutilations are performed. The Pokot region, especially, has had a high number of reports of girls fleeing their homes or refusing to return home from school. Despite the existence of Kenyan laws against FGM and child marriage, it is clear that they are not being implemented in the region to protect girls.

  • Elizabeth from Churo village was barred from attending school by her parents who planned to subject her to FGM and marry her off. She found refuge with her aunt for a while and was attending school, but was forced to run away when her father tried to remove her from her aunt’s home at age 16. She walked for three days before arriving at a rescue center for girls. Her father came to the rescue center and tried to force her back home, but when the center’s management threatened him with police action, he left and did not return.
  • Alsine from Tangulbei village was pulled out of school by her parents at age 14 and subjected to FGM to ‘prepare her for marriage’. She ran away to her older sister’s home to escape, but her father forcibly removed her from her sister’s home and began marriage preparations. She managed to escape once more, and after spending two nights sleeping outdoors,  was directed to a rescue center for girls where she is once again attending.

Please join Equality Now and our Kenyan partners, the Women Rights Institute for Peace and the Tasaru Ntomonok Initiative, in calling on the national government of Kenya and the local government in Pokot to take urgent action in accordance with Kenya’s international, regional and domestic obligations to ensure that:

  • Immediate steps are taken to protect, and provide support and shelter to, girls escaping FGM and child marriage and to ensure that at-risk girls are not subjected to FGM at any time and in particular during the school holidays.
  • Laws against FGM and child marriage are effectively implemented with proper investigation and prosecution of violations.
  • All concerned national and local level authorities work together to put into place protective measures within at-risk communities to protect girls from both child marriage and FGM, and to ensure that they are able to continue their education.
  • Awareness-raising and education campaigns are conducted to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and child marriage and acknowledging the practices as human rights violations with harmful consequences.

H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta

President of the Republic of Kenya

H.E. Ms Anne Waiguru

Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Devolution & Planning

Hon. Prof Githu Muigai., M.P.

Attorney General

H.E. Dr. Richard Belio Kipsang

Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science &Technology

Benjamin C Cheboi

Baringo County Governor

Simon Kitalei Kachapin

West-Pokot County Governor

The Kenya Women Parliamentary Association

To learn more about the campaign & for a list of full contact information for the government officials above, see: