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British Council in Kenya initiates Football program to tackle violence against Women in Mt. Elgon.
Posted: 15 March 2015. Source: British High Commission’s Press Release


The British Council and Premier League, together with UK and Kenyan partners, have announced an innovative pilot project which uses football to tackle issues of violence against women and girls in Mount Elgon, Western Kenya.

Building on the British Council and Premier League’s highly successful Premier Skills initiative and funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), ‘Addressing Violence Against Women and Girls through Football’ will work with young people in Mount Elgon to address some of the behaviours and attitudes that give rise to high levels of violence against women and girls.

The launch of the programme, which will be known locally as Elgon Timz, will take place at Kapsokwony, in Bungoma County on Friday 13th March, 2015. Training of 47 local coaches has been going on throughout the week, culminating in the launch on March 13, 2015.

Local partners supporting the implementation of Elgon Timz include the County Government of Bungoma, ACORD, Free Pentecostal Fellowship of Kenya (FPFK), Football Kenya Federation, AFC Leopards, UN Women and Moving the Goalposts in Kilifi.

47 local coaches from the two sites of Kapsiro and Kapsokwony have been selected to attend the training. The course will be led by Premier Skills Head Coach Paul Hughes, and Premier League club coaches Michael Wynter from Aston Villa Football Club and Hayley James from West Bromwich Albion Football Club. The three Premier League coaches will be assisted by two Level 1 Premier Skills-trained Kenyan coaches.

Throughout the six days, the local grassroots coaches have received expert training from the UK coaches. The training will give them the skills and support to deliver community football activities for young people, with a particular focus on addressing specific challenges around preventing violence against women and girls.

Premier Skills uses football to develop a brighter future for young people around the world, drawing upon the global appeal of the Premier League and its expertise in delivering community programmes in the UK, alongside the British Council’s global network and track record of delivery.

Through Premier Skills, young people, often including the most vulnerable in society, are given opportunities to become better integrated into their local communities, to develop their skills for employability and to raise their self-esteem.

According to estimates from civil society groups and data from the United Nations, Kenyan women’s experience of violence varies according to region, but the western region of Mount Elgon has one of the highest proportions of violence against women, with 45% of women having experienced violence since the age of 15 and more than a quarter reporting that they have suffered violence within the last year.

UK Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening said:

“Football’s international appeal gives it the unique ability to inspire change. By working with boys and girls through football and developing their leadership skills we can empower them to have a stronger voice within their communities and stamp out abuse, discrimination and violence.

“No country can escape poverty or plan a more prosperous future when girls and women are denied the chance to reach their full potential. Equal access to education, health and decision making is key to boost growth, creating jobs and ending dependency on aid for good.”

Tony Reilly, British Council Director in Kenya said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with the Premier League and the County government of Bungoma in western Kenya to use the popularity of the Premier League and the global appeal of football to sensitize young people around issues of violence against women and girls. Mount Elgon has been characterised by conflict and violence in the past. This has given rise to a number of social challenges – including high levels of violence against women and girls. With important funding provided by the UK’s Department for International Development, we look forward to working with a range of Kenyan and UK partners on this innovative approach.”

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said:

“In the UK, the Premier League and our clubs work hard to improve the lives of young people in their communities. We hold a strong commitment to engage women and girls through a variety of programmes, with over 150,000 girls getting involved in the past year alone.

“Given our international reach, it is only right that we instill these objectives through the Premier Skills global programme, which is why it is pleasing to see our partners from Kenya using football to address the issue of violence against women and girls.” 
  
                                                        Source: British High Commission in Kenya's Press Release.
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Infertility in Women - What Causes Infertility in Women and What Are the Solutions?

By: James S. Pendergraft - Posted 24 February 2013.

'Infertility in women' refers to the condition in which a woman is not able to conceive or contribute in the conception of a child due to some health issues. In some cases of infertility, a woman may conceive, but might not be able to carry a child until its birth.

Causes of Infertility

There are numerous causes of infertility in women, all of which have been studied thoroughly by the experts and researchers. Heredity is one of the very common possibilities. Some of the typical causes of infertility in women are consumption of drugs and alcohol, smoking, age, diet, and sexually transmitted diseases.

The most common cause of infertility in women is some kind of a disorder in the ovulation process. Ovulation is a very complex process, which most of us fail to understand. It not only refers to the generation of a 'female egg cell', but also includes the 'preparation for fertilization' in the reproductive system of women. An irregularity in the menstrual cycle is a common indication of an existing problem in the ovulation.

Some other causes of infertility in women linked with ovulation are increased amount of prolactin, tubal scarring, cysts in the ovaries, weight loss, excessive exercise, disorders in the adrenal gland and thyroid gland, obesity and psychological stress or strain.

Solutions to 'infertility in women'

Infertility is quite a serious disorder and needs to be treated at some point or the other. There are several methods of treating this condition. However, which one you should opt for depends on the cause of its occurrence and the level of severity of the condition. The three main and most effective kinds of infertility treatments and solutions have been detailed below:

Medicinal Treatments - The intake of certain medicines has proved to solve the cases of infertility. 'Clomifene' is a medicine used to persuade ovulation in those women who don't ovulate at all or even regularly. 'Metformin' is used when clomifene does not react on the body. This is usually prescribed to women who are afflicted by the condition of PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome). 'Gonadotrophins' is that ingredient of a medicine which helps in stimulating ovulation. These medicines must be taken only when prescribed by the doctor.

Surgical Processes - Doctors opt for the surgical processes when some part/s in the ovulation process needs to be repaired or improved. The usual surgical processes that are undergone in the cases of infertility are; 'Fallopian tube Surgery' - done to remove the blockages or scarring in the in the fallopian tube, and 'Laparoscopic surgery' - done to take samples of the internal organs and perform operations or tests on them.

Assisted conception - Intrauterine insemination (IUI) - The procedure in which sperms are placed in the womb using a plastic tube, In vitro fertilization (IVF) - medication taken to persuade the ovaries to produce additional eggs, egg donation and Blastocyst transfer are the most effective and most commonly adopted methods of assisted conception in the condition of infertility in women.

To Your Health!

Article Source: http://www.afroarticles.com/article-dashboard

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Women Need Sexy Butt Workout Routines

By: Robert Buford - 24 February 2013.

Would you start doing butt exercises and butt workouts if you could be assured of a sexy butt when you were done? If your answer was yes, you're not alone. An estimated 80 percent of women over 18 aren't happy with their bodies much less their butts. Most of them dream about the days of their youth or their younger days when they had that perfect or almost perfect, sculptured rear end that drove the men wild.

Eating Healthy and getting regular cardio activity will help to boost metabolism and lose weight. But, you need more than just those activities to help the drooping tail gate. Most of the women I know all have the misconception that training with weights will make the butt larger, but training the gluteal muscles will actually add shape it. When the derriere starts to droop, the only thing that provides the pick-me-up you need is exercise. The increase in your body’s fat-burning ability is a plus! The butt is comprised of three muscles; maximus, medius and minimus. It's a must to work it from various angles. Whether you carry a bubble butt or flat fanny, exercises will reshape your rear. But the workout you choose is depending on the look you want.

There doesn't seem to be anything more attractive to men than a women’s sexy butt in super tight jeans, or a tight fitting short skirt, or high cut shorts, in reality though, men don't really care what is covering the ass, naked would even most certainly be acceptable!

Actually, no matter how small, big, flabby, or shapeless you think your butt is, if have something covering your ass that looks good on you, or makes you feel good about yourself, then men are going to look. The female form is usually always beautiful, but there is something about the butt that draws men's eyes to it. It’s like a billboard telling males to "LOOK HERE!” or “CHECK ME OUT!"

Women know what we're saying. They have been trained since birth, through media, mothers, peers etc, to use their ass. Sometimes they get what they want! Sometimes what they don’t want! Most men are quite vulnerable to one of these natural works of art; especially on a woman they are fond of or interested in. I am one and am defenseless against it.

This quote by Kenneth Tynan just about says it all. “The buttocks are the most aesthetically pleasing part of the body because they are non-functional. Although they conceal an essential orifice, these pointless globes are as near as the human form can ever come to abstract art”

So ladies, there you are, these are some of the reasons you might want to take care of your above mentioned rear end. Attracting the mate you desire starts with some degree of physical attraction. This is of course no mystery, and even if it is overrated in the media, it will always be a valid point in the courting process of the human animal, especially regarding the male of the species. Even those of you who have been married for some time, know what it is like at that intimate moment. We are uncomfortable when our bodies do not live up to our image of how we should look.

The entire butt area is very important to a woman’s self esteem, the clothing she wears, her shopping options for various articles of clothing, and the attention her ass gets her from her man, or from men in general. The way she feels about herself when she looks at her backside in the mirror , her self confidence when she is around other women in social situations and her joy for life are affected by the condition of her butt. So much so that she is willing to put the amount of energy and focus that is required into getting the desired results in changing her butt and body. Truth is told - this desire for physical enhancement is so natural and within reach that the possibilities of being overwhelmed by the elements that usually distract so many women is a non-factor.

Have you noticed that even when you are working out, your butt shows surprisingly little improvement? Exercises that are part of the average workoutroutines are generally the LEAST effective when it comes to getting a perfectly shaped firm butt. There are hundreds of muscles in your lower body area and you need to do exercises that target specifically muscles in that area in order to improve the looks of the rear end. Avoid weight-loss and fat burning pills at all costs. While some might show results in the short-term, many are hazardous for your health and none have lasting effects. The only sustainable results are achieved through effective exercise and diet.

Article Source: http://www.afroarticles.com/article-dashboard

About The Author: Robert Buford -- If you are one of the many women wanting help in getting Your butt into the desired shape, the author has found a site With two programs, one or both would be of benefit to you The address is; firmsexybutt.blogspot.com/

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 Sabiny-Uganda: Disabled and poverty stricken, the sad reality of FGM.

Amina Ibrahim, aged 73, works for the Kapchorwa town council in the Sebei sub-region of Mount Elgon, eastern Uganda. But she used to earn a living as a local surgeon carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM).

Rite of passage

For thirty years Amino performed this cultural practice on girls around the age of 15. She was paid roughly 8 euros per operation. Although the practice is commonly viewed as a violation of human rights, for certain tribes in Africa such as the Maasai and the Sabiny, the act of cutting off a woman’s clitoris is seen as a necessary rite of passage as it marks a young girl’s transition into womanhood.

 

"I was performing this ritual on girls as a cultural obligation but also to earn a living because I would operate on over 50 girls a day and the income I earned was enough to sustain me," Amina recalls with fond memories.

 

"Now that the government has passed a law banning this cultural practice, they (local surgeons) should be assisted to find an alternative source of income," says Amina who was at home with her fellow FGM local surgeon Zaina Cherotich. The duo used to work together.

 

Complications

But 52 year old mother of six, Judith Yapmangusho, has been confined to a wheel chair after suffering reproductive health complications as a result of FGM.

"I am now a physically disabled person incapable of doing any manual work to support my poverty stricken family that survives on subsistence farming in the hilly region," Yapmangusho says.

 

The story of Yapmangusho is just one of several untold stories of women who have suffered silently because of the stigma associated with FGM.

 

For generations, Sabiny men have encouraged FGM based on the belief that a married woman who undergoes genital mutilation has a reduced libido and would therefore remain loyal to her husband if he leaves home for long periods in search of work.

 

It was common among Sabiny men to shun marrying uncircumcised. Similarly, elders never allowed girls who weren't circumstanced to collect food from the granary due to their low status in the community.

 

‘Timely intervention’

Sarah Kamuron a secondary school student is full of praise for the law banning FGM. She explains how it has empowered her to shun the cultural practice which creates reproductive health complications for women especially during child birth.

 

"Parents with strong cultural beliefs have been forcing their daughters to undergo FGM in total violation of the child’s rights. But now the law against FGM is a timely intervention," Kamuron who is volunteering to be a peer educator added.

 

Sensitisation

Beatrice Chelangat who has been head of the Reproductive Educative and Community Health programme (REACH) since 1996 says a high level illiteracy among the community members has been one of the major factors contributing to the practice of harmful cultural practices like FGM. She also fears that in rural areas, the practice will go underground if communities do not receive education about the risks of FGM.

 

"We have now embarked on outreach programs in schools and communities especially in the rural areas. Thanks to the support of the Dutch Embassy, a Frequency Modulation radio station is also opening soon in Bukwo district along the Uganda-Kenya border, to help sensitize people about the law on FGM and other reproductive health issues," Chelangat said.

 

From a medical perspective, FGM is not only painful but also extremely traumatic as it may cause excessive bleeding and risks exposing the girl to the deadly Human Immune Virus (HIV), infertility, physical disability and even death.

 

Female circumcision, often referred to as female genital mutilation, affects an estimated 92 million girls in Africa aged 10 and above. In Uganda, the practice was officially banned in 2009 but it is still practiced in rural areas by groups such as the Sabiny in the east of the country.

 

 

WHO guide to FGM

According to World Health Organisation (2011), FGM is internationally recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths. An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM. It is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15 years.

 

 Source: RNW Africa Desk  


 

UN Women’s Call for Proposals for the UN Trust Fund

BY FUNDSFORNGOS.

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November, UN Women has announced the availability of grant support to NGOs under the the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.

This call for proposals also marks the UN Trust Fund’s 15th Anniversary. It was established by UN General Assembly resolution 50/166 in 1996 to support national and local efforts to end violence against women. The UN Trust Fund awards grants annually through an open and competitive process. The majority of its grantees are NGOs, with grants awarded also to governments and UN country teams.

Current call for proposals is open to NGOs, women’s and community-based organizations and coalitions and operational research institutions and UN Country Teams in partnership with governments and civil society organizations to apply and seek funding support.

The areas of action under this call are:

  • Closing the Gap on the Implementation of National and Local Laws, Policies and Action Plans that Address Violence against Women
  • Addressing Violence against Women in Conflict, Post‐conflict and Transitional Settings

The UN Trust Fund can allocate funding from US $300,000 to $1 million for large civil society organizations, governments and UN Country teams. For small organizations, including grassroots women’s organizations and networks, project funding for a minimum of $100,000 will be considered. Project durations can be from 2-3 years.

Note: Applicants are expected to submit proposals online in the form of a brief Concept.

The deadline for submission of the Concept Note is 19 January 2012, 11:59pm New York Time (EST). For more information, visit this link.


Source Link: http://www.fundsforngos.org/latest-funds-for-ngos/womens-call-proposals-trust-fund/#ixzz1jV1rbONx

 


 

200 Girls saved from FGM in Mt. Elgon - Kenya.

 

OVER 200 girls who were to undergo Female Genital Mutilation in Mt Elgon during the festive season have been rescued. Speaking during a seminar atKibuk Girls High School, Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organisation chairperson, Janepher Mbatiany said the girls as young as seven years were being forced to undergo the cut as a sign of bravery and maturity. Mbatiany said the girls were rescued from parts of Kopsiro, Cheptais, Kapsokwony and Kaptama divisions where FGM is rampant.

 

She said forced FGM had led to a high rate of school dropouts and early marriages. She condemned the outdated culture saying that it had led to low turn out of the girl child among the Sabaot community in schools. The official called on the government and well wishers to help them in carrying out sensitisation programmes and alternative rites of passage for girls.

 

She added that the most affected were girls in class seven and eight who were forced to be circumcised and later married off because they are considered a source of wealth. The three day seminar at Kibuk Girls High School saw the girls advised to be vigilant and report any incident where parents forced them to undergo the cut. The girls called on the government to scrap the outdated culture which they said was hampering their education. They also appealed to the government to fund them so as to spread the gospel of Anti FGM in the region.<<

 

Source: Nairobi Star Newspaper - Kenya.

 


Rights activists push for end of FGM

Posted: Sunday, December 18  2011 at  00:00

Kapchorwa

Human rights activists have called upon the East Africa bloc to honour the commitment to end female genital mutilation, describing it as a discriminatory and a harmful practice to girls.

While addressing delegates from Kenya and Uganda and traditionalists at the 12th Sebei Culture Day celebrations on Monday held at Sebei College Tegeres, the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, said ending FGM is crucial to the success of two of the Millennium Development Goals: Improving maternal health and promoting gender equality.

She said: “FGM is a violation of the women rights. It is a dangerous and irreversible procedure that negatively impacts the general health, child-bearing capabilities and educational opportunities of girls. God is not happy about the practice.”

The Sebei Culture Day, an annual event, was held under the theme ‘Education and quality reproductive health are key in FGM abandonment. This is regarded as a day of zero tolerance to FGM’.

Ms Teresa Malaba, a lecturer at Kenya University, said in order to end the practice, nations must build a generally protective environment for children. The chairman Sebei Elders Association, Mr Patrick Cheborion, said progress in fighting FGM needs collective support from all stakeholders, including toughening national laws against the practice.

Source: dmafabi@ug.nationmedia.com

Also read related news article below:

 

New anti-female circumcision programme launched in Sebei

Posted: Sunday, December 18  2011 at  00:00

In a bid to empower Sabiny girls to fight against female genital mutilation, REACH, an NGO and leaders of Kapchorwa, Kween and Bukwo districts have launched a programme against the vice in schools, churches and homesteads.

The Reproductive Education and Community Health (REACH) national director general, Ms Beatrice Chelangat, said recently that involvement of school leaders and teachers, church and local community leaders is geared towards empowering Sabiny in Sebei sub-region to accelerate action against female genital mutilation (FGM), elimination of the vice by 2015 and improve the reproductive health of the women.

“We have decided to take anti-FGM campaigns to schools, churches and homes to not only empower the girl-child to stand against FGM but to enlist the support of all local, church and clan leaders in the fight for total elimination of FGM,” Ms Chelengat said last week.

Under the programme, REACH is set to initiate participation of all Sabiny irrespective of sex, educational background and age in a wide range of civic education programmes through face to face meetings in homesteads, classrooms and churches.
Ms Chelangat said during the lessons, emphasis will be put on use of the local language Kup-Sabiny and Pokot (Amudat) to identify key resource persons and train them as advocates of change.

Young girls and boys would be trained through traditional dances, drama, riddles, proverbs and songs against FGM.
The programme that has already attracted funding from
Netherlands would also identify traditional FGM practitioners and train them to embrace other alternatives of earning a living rather than looking at FGM as the only source of income.

Ms Chelangat said the programme will address the building of local frameworks to end FGM, enforcing change, the role of governments and political leaders in the campaign against FGM and implementation of international and national legal instruments relating to FGM.

The programme comes shortly after Parliament passed a legislation banning FGM as an outdated culture that demeans women and violates their rights.

Studies have shown a correlation between FGM and the high infant and maternal mortality and morbidity in African countries where FGM is prevalent.

According to 2010 FGM statistics by REACH and the district local governments in Sebei sub-region, a total of 258 girls were circumcised.<<

                                                             Source: Beatrice Chelangat - REACH Director General, Sebei, Uganda.

 


 

She Became Lame after Circumcision.

 Photo: Judith Yamangusho of Kapchorwa, Uganda.

Not very far from Kapchorwa town, 53-year-old Judith Yamangusho gently removes her beans from the pods. Looking at her sitting on a stool, it is easy to imagine that she is in good health. Not until you see her wheelchair just a few metres away do you realise that she is in fact paralysed. However, for all her aliments, she is still a lucky woman, for three of her sisters passed away due to the very cause of her condition. Before the break of dawn, when she was 20, Yamangusho and her sisters were taken to a bush a distance from their home in Tabakon village Kapteret Sub County in Kapchorwa district and circumcised. Uncomfortably, she narrated that the surgeon used the same knife to cut them, then stitched them with thorns and applied local medicine on their wounds. “Our legs were all tied up for days for the wounds to recover,” she said. Only this mother of six children survived the ordeal, her sisters died shortly after. Yamangusho bled a lot after the circumcision and later dropped out of school(primary seven) because of the pain. When she finally recovered, she got married and was seemingly leading a happy life until child birth. “After delivering my last born, I started experiencing back pains and after the back pain my waist got paralysed to date,” she narrated. Her husband Steven Nakitari remains supportive of his wife, having been enlightened about the evils of the practice by the different Non-governmental organisations trying to curb the female Genital mutilation in the Sebei community.

Yamangusho only wishes that the war against FGM was decades earlier. “I wouldn’t have accepted it had I known its negative effects. I was not forced. I accepted after my parents told me to go since that was what all families were doing,” she said. However, she does not blame her parents. “They could do nothing because they had culture at heart but when the inter African Committee Uganda (IACU) an NGO based in Kapchorwa and Reproductive, Educative and community health (REACH) started preaching against the practice and its effects, that is when our parents realised that the practice was not good, but they could not do much,” she said.

Yamangusho’s only prayer is that her community realises the dangers of the practice and stops. “They should look at the way I’m now. I didn’t want to be like this, but because of that kind of culture, I have been forced to be like this,” she said sadly.<<

Retrieved from: New Vision Newspaper

 


Why The Sabiny Women are Gritty about Female Circumcision

 30 July 2011: IN SUMMARY:Any traditional Sabiny believes that a woman who is not circumcised can never get a partner for marriage amongst the Sabiny and does not deserve respect. David Mafabi finds out why the Sabiny are unwavering to continue Female Genital Mutilation.

Changing the life style of the people living in Kween, Kapchorwa and Bukwo districts at the slopes of Mt Elgon in order to end the traditional Female Genital Mutilation FGM is proving a headache to local leadership in the region.

Although like United Nations health experts, the district leadership is calling for stronger commitments from the local people to end the FGM in bid to restore the dignity of the girl-child, many traditionalist are not ready to drop the practice.

As I approach Chesmat village in Kapyoyon sub-county in Kween district, a young girl Ms Sarah Chelimo, 15, leads a group of girls in a traditional circumcision song in Kupsabiny.

“Tombo chemuto owo! tombo chemuto owo! Mariwey, tombo chemuto! tumbo chemuto owo. Chebo namukweza owo! nte Kachoo, chepo namukweza, tombo chemuto owo! Abarojii kiketya, abaroji kiketya na aboraji kiketya, sande simburi, tomo chemuto owo.” (I am not circumcised, here I’m from Mariwey, daughter of Namukweza, I have agreed to take circumcision, pave way for me, and my surgeon is Sande Simbura) This song is sung by young girls intending to undergo FGM soon.

Although I was surprised when I heard this from these girls given the fact that FGM is now prohibited, I stood still, listened to the song, looked at the young girls, I wanted to speak back but an inner voice restrained me when I saw an old woman amongst them guiding them in dancing.

The looks on their faces left no doubt in my mind that these girls are determined to undergo FGM come next year because they are prepared.

This experience illustrates how many Sabiny are determined to take FGM next year despite President Museveni approving the law prohibiting the practice and describing FGM as crude, outdated and an infringement on the rights of the girl-child in April 2010.

In the villages of Kapsarur, Kireteyi, Riwo, Kaptererwo, Chesmat, Kameti, Tulem, Nyalit, Binyinyiny and Chesower amongst the people who are still stuck in the tradition, amongst the illiterate’s preparations are in full gear sending fears that the local people might never drop FGM.

Why the persistence
Traditionalists argue that FGM is apart of their culture that makes them distinct from other tribes. It initiates girls into womanhood, shapes the morality of women during marriage and above all that it is their livelihood as they are paid for mutilating the girls. Kokop Cherop, a traditional surgeon, says that circumcising girls is the only means of living she has got which enables her to educate her children. “I have been circumcising since the age of 20 and from this I have educated my children; it’s a means of survival. So when someone talks about ending it, I just laugh it off,” 67 year Cherop said.

According to the district leadership in Kween, the changing attitude of the people who are deeply rooted in the tradition and look at it as a source of income for sustaining their families.

Nelson Chelimo an elder from Kween and Former LCV for Kapchorwa said, “Sensitisation of the masses against FGM has not yielded enough results and even the law has not changed anything in our villages.” Chelimo’s fears are not unfounded. The traditional Sabiny have in the past resisted dropping FGM, which they urge is a practice that gives diginity to the traditional Sabiny woman.

Ignorance of the law
Bukwo district population officer and FGM researcher, Simon Alere says the biggest population living in the rural remote areas of Kabei, Bukwo parts of Suam, Chesower (Bukwo) and Kwanyiny, Benet, where the culture originated and where the people value the practice FGM so much have no information about the law.

“There was a time the parliamentary committee on gender came here to talk about FGM but they only addressed us and the councillors but in the villages people are still asking how the law was passed without consulting them. This pauses a lot of challenge especially in implementing it,” Alere said. He added that, “People are saying the law is harsh, unfair and needs to be amended. But until everyone in involved, the deep rooted culture is not about to go.”

Lazaro Cheptoris, 68, of Kapsos village in Bukwo sub-county says he did not know about the law prohibiting the culture of the Sabiny. “We have not seen anybody tell us to abandon this culture inherited from our ancestors to keep the morality of our girls. I have two daughters supposed to be circumcised next year and I have started preparing and initiating them into adulthood. Nothing is going to stop me from circumcising them because their sisters, mother and grandmother have undergone this,” said Cheptoris

Chesower LCIII chairman, Stehen Matek says, “Although literate parents now fear the new law against FGM, many traditionalists and illiterate parents ignorant about it will take their children come next year.”

Although the new law also intends to establish appropriate and administrative measures to uphold the sexual rights and dignity of women and girls, the cultural belief among the Sabiny insist there is no way to womanhood known to keep morality of women apart from FGM.

Signs of success
But even with these fears, Chelimo is optimistic that the practice will drop given the reducing number of girls who undergo FGM in Kapchorwa and Kween districts.

Statistics compiled by Reproductive Education and Community Health (Reach), a local community NGO to improve health conditions and help discard FGM in the Sebei sub-region, indicate that in 2010 only 17 girls were circumcised in Kapchorwa and 83 girls in Kween compared to 388 in Bukwo district.

Chelimo like other leaders in the district believe the decline is due to the intervention of Reach programme spearheaded by Beatrice Chelangat. The programme in Kapchorwa is opening people’s eyes against the practice. The crusade is also spread through Christianity which condemns the practice.

Effects of FGM
Among the salient issues cited as effects of female circumcision are mounting medical evidence are that; FGM poses a serious threat to the health of women and girls, increasing vulnerability to HIV, raising the risk of maternal and infant mortality and harming psychological, sexual and reproductive health, severe pain, hemorrhage, tetanus infections, cysts and urinary inconvenience. This is the basis upon which Reproductive Education and Community Health, an local NGO used to launch a law to criminalise FGM.
 


 

500 Mt. Elgon Widows Preach Peace led by Christine Kiso of Cheptais.

By John Nalianya

 

Widows of former Sabaot Land Defense Force group members in Mt Elgon have formed ambassadors of peace movement. The over 500 women who have formed groups mainly focused on agricultural activities have been holding pubic forums to preach peace in the region.

 

Christine Kiso from Cheptais, one of the women leaders, said they decided to come together after realising that they were the most affected group by the conflicts. She said they were sponsored by Peace-net Kenya, an NGO, to attend several workshops where they learnt how to farm for self subsistence. "Our people have always been fighting because of land and despite having large tracks of land, the community continues to face abject poverty,"she said.

For this reason, we decided to join hands as widows to practice farming on small pieces of land in our homesteads and to encourage oneness. The women who also lease small pieces of land mainly grow onions, tomatoes and cabbages using the modern ways of agriculture.

 

Another peace ambassador, Eveline Chepkeckh from Kipsis, said she thought her life was doomed when her husband died. But she has found it within herself to forgive the perpetrators and is joining hands with other women to encourage peaceful coexistence. "The war that made us widows has now brought us together. We forgot the past and are now moving ahead," she says.

Chepkech who has four children all of them at secondary school admits that were it not for the initiative, her children would probably have dropped out of school.

 

Peace-net Kenya communication officer John Ndeta told The Star that women in the region have been instrumental in preaching peace. He urged the residents to make use of the small pieces of land by using modern ways of agriculture instead of fighting for huge trucks that are not economically viable.

 

Source: Nairobi Star Newspaper

 


 

Military Officers Accused of Killing Mt Elgon Man Identified

28th June, 2011.

Soldiers in Mt Elgon have been accused of killing a middle-aged man. The officers are said to have picked Joseph Kapule from his home at 3.45am on Saturday before torturing him to death.

Kapule's wife Linet said people who identified themselves as military personnel from the nearby Kapkota camp came to their home and demanded that they open the door. The couple obliged and the men roughed up her husband before taking him away at the wee hours of the morning. "They beat my husband and son saying, 'Leo mtajua jeshi ni moja hapa Kenya (today you will know there is only one army in Kenya)' before taking him away," she said.

Linet said when she tried to scream, one of the soldiers slapped her and ordered her to shut up. She says she went to a neighbour's house and later heard of husband's death later in the day.

Kapule's brother David said he was woken up by commotion from his brother house and hid in a nearby thicket where he saw the men take away his brother. Together with a group of friends and relatives, he followed the officers up to the Kapkota camp where they found his brother outside one of the tents. The soldiers however chased them away.

He says he was astonished when he was later in the day called by a staff at the Cheptais sub district hospital that his brother had been pronounced dead after he was brought by unidentified people who claimed they were businessmen who had picked him by the roadside .

A hospital staff at the staff who spoke on condition of anonymity said the men who came in a land-rover had hurriedly sped off when the medical team started to attend to Kapule. This is not the first time such an incident has occurred in this area.

Last year, a man was murdered in similar circumstances and human rights groups have been calling for justice. Councillor Nathan Wasama condemned the incident and asked why the military have continued to stay in the area even after wiping out the Sabaot Land Defence Force militia. The military set base in Cheptais and Kopsiro divisions after the operation dubbed "Operation okoa maisha" in 2008.

 

Retrieved from: Nairobi Star Newspaper article by John Nalianya

 


 

 

 

 Profile of The shining Women rights Sabiny Star: Beatrice Chelangat

 Beatrice Chelangat was 13 when she got her first major call to break barriers. She was in primary seven in Kapchorwa, lining up to register for the 1984 Primary Leaving Examinations. When her turn came, the teacher took one look at her and shook his head.

“Do not waste that money registering,” Mr Frank Kusuro told the little girl. “You will have to repeat and possibly sit the exam next year.”
Beatrice refused. She believed she was ready for the exams. Granted, two siblings who had come before her had repeated P7, but who said she had to follow the same route? She begged, cried and sulked, in vain.

But when she cried in the headmaster’s office, she got her way. She scored aggregate 19 and was admitted to the elite
Sebei College on merit.
“I am veeery determined,” whispers Ms Chelangat, now 39, with a piercing smile, leaning forward like someone sharing a top secret. “If I want something, I do not take chances; I go out and work for it.”
Determination has been her life’s big secret.

Born to a former community teacher and a housewife and raised in
Kapchorwa Town Council, Chelangat was the first child in her family to join university, but even that required strong resolve. After sitting her A-Level at Nkoma SS in Mbale, she did not do well enough to get admitted to Makerere University. She did not give up.
“I came back home, read privately and re-sat the A-Level exams at
Sebei College and I made it to Makerere,” Chelangat says, revealing proudly that all her siblings have since gone to university.

Chelangat is the director general of the Reproductive, Educative and Community Health (REACH) project, a Kapchorwa-based non-governmental organisation working to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM).  Fighting a cultural practice treasured by her people, the Sabiny, for generations, certainly needed determination, but it also tied in with her own fate. In 1988, she was 18, the age most Sabiny consider right for a girl to have her genitalia cut off as a rite of passage. That year, the Kapchorwa district council passed a resolution making FGM compulsory. And although this was later reduced to “optional”, the message had gone out.

“As a young girl, I and my peers felt insecure because we were not ready for the knife,” says Chelangat, the oldest of four girls and third born in a family of ten.
Later, while at university, Chelangat teamed up with other Sabiny students to campaign for girl-child education as a way of fighting FGM. With support from Sabiny elders and politicians, they participated in preparing a proposal for a project against FGM launched in January 1996.
Initially REACH was a programme under the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) but it has been an independent NGO since 2006.
Working with elders and through peer educators and advocates at all levels, REACH has sensitised both parents and youth about the dangers of FGM and the need to abandon it. It has recruited former “cutters” and given them heifers as an alternative source of income. It has developed packages of alternative rites of passage to replace FGM and lobbied local and national leaders to outlaw FGM.
“We called Dr Chris Baryomunsi [Kinkizi East MP and chairman of Parliament’s Committee on Food Security] and his team here in the board room and the elders told him to give support to have the bill passed. He accepted and even to be the one to move the bill,” she says.

On December 11, the day after parliament passed the legislation banning female circumcision, a sister-in-law in Mbale phoned Chelangat and offered a turkey to congratulate her.

But her efforts have been recognised beyond family circles. In an interview, Kapchorwa LCV Chairman Nelson Chelimo said REACH had done a great job and he hoped money would be found so that the project can reach the more conservative people.

In June, when a Sabiny delegation visited President Museveni in
Entebbe, they chose Chelangat to read their memorandum. She says the president promised the Sabiny and Pokot one model girls secondary school each (as a tool against FGM) as well as 22 university scholarships, starting with the 2010/11 budget.
Last month, the American for UNFPA, a US-based organisation, nominated Chelangat for the international award for promoting health and dignity of women.

Next month, she will spend two weeks in the US, during which she will participate in activities to raise money for fighting FGM.
“Beatrice Chelangat, 39, is an extraordinary advocate devoted to empowering girls and eliminating female genital cutting (FGC) in
Uganda,” AFU said on their website. “With her help, adolescent girls from the Sabiny tribe in Kapchorwa have the opportunity to go to school, delay marriage and ensure their health and dignity.”

In fact Chelangat’s work goes beyond Kapchorwa to other districts where FGM is known to be practised – Bukwo, Amudat and Bugiri. Members of the Sabiny Community in
Tanzania have also contacted REACH to help them fight the practice.

But not everyone appreciates her journeys on rough roads and meetings in remote villages. Many wonder why she has maintained her campaign for 13 years.
“This elder from
Tanzania asked me that ‘if you don’t cut a Sabiny woman, how do you control her?’” says Chelangat, referring to the cultural belief that FGM helps to control women’s libido.

“One of them asked my father that, ‘your daughter, with her degree in statistics, why is she wasting time telling people to refuse FGM?’” Chelangat says, adding that Statistics has helped her to plan for the organisation and her family.
A mother of two sons now in P7 and P3, she opts not to discuss the 2003 murder of her husband, Davis.

As an NGO, life is much harder than during the UNFPA days. Because of limited and irregular funding, REACH cannot carry out enough education campaigns against FGM. But, says Chelangat, they are determined to carry on.

{Compiled by SIDO Editorial Team; Source: The Observer Newspaper as written by Richard M. Kavuma

 


Americans for UNFPA Proud to Present Award to Women’s Rights Champion Beatrice Chelangat, Uganda.                                  

Beatrice Chelangat was only 13 years old when she started breaking barriers for women. She was lining up to register for placement exams. When her turn came, the teacher took one look at her and shook his head. “Do not waste that money registering,” Mr Frank Kusuro told the little girl. “You will have to repeat and possibly sit [for] the exam next year.”

Chelangat refused. She believed she was ready for the exams and pleaded her case to the headmaster. She eventually got her way and scored high enough marks to be accepted to the elite Sebei College.

“I am very determined,” whispers Ms Chelangat, now 39. “If I want something, I do not take chances; I go out and work for it.”

Chelangat is the Director General of the REACH (Reproductive, Educative and Community Health)project, a Kapchorwa-based organization working to eradicate female genital cutting (FGC) in Uganda. With her help, adolescent girls from the Sabiny tribe in Kapchorwa have the opportunity to go to school, delay marriage, and ensure their health and dignity.

Working with elders and through peer educators and advocates at all levels, REACH has educated both parents and youth about the dangers of FGC and the need to abandon it. Today, more than 90% of adolescents targeted by REACH have escaped FGC. REACH has also developed alternative rites of passage to replace FGC and lobbied local and national leaders to outlaw FGC.

In December 2009, after years of lobbying work, the Parliament in Uganda passed legislation banning FGC. A sister-in-law in Mbale phoned Chelangat and offered a turkey to congratulate her.*

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, provided funds to help REACH become the self-sustained, successful organization it is today. UNFPA funds similar programs in 17 countries in Africa, and expects to bring about a 40% reduction in FGC by 2012.

Americans for UNFPA is delighted to present Beatrice Chelangat with the 2010 Board of Advocates Award for the Health and Dignity of Women. The Awards are underwritten by National Sponsor, Abbott Labs.

 

* Text includes information from an article written by Richard M. Kavuma in “The Observer” newspaper in Uganda on January 20, 2010.

                    

 {Report by UNFPA - http://www.americansforunfpa.org/netcommunity/page.aspx?pid=939}

 


Struggling to end female circumcision in Sabiny-Uganda 

 

Today, female genital cutting (FGC) affects 130 million girls and women mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, leaving many suffering long-term, physical and psychologial damage. Despite this long-standing traditional practice, beliefs are slowly beginning to change, says Don Hinrichsen, who visited Uganda to report on the work of one remarkable organisation called REACH.

 

Betty Cheboi's mother, Ugandan anti-FGM activist. Photo: Don Hinrichsen

Betty Cheboi's mother has helped her for the past 20 years, since she was crippled by Female Circumcision.© Don Hinrichsen

 

Betty Cheboi sits uneasily on a small wooden bench in her ramshackle shop perched on the edge of a jagged ravine in the remote hill community of Kapchorwa, near Mt. Elgon in western Uganda. A tiny woman, Betty is clearly uncomfortable as she adjusts her lifeless legs. She has endured bouts of pain and numbness in her lower body for the past 28 years, ever since she was forcibly circumcised in 1976.

"I remember that awful day as if it were yesterday," she says in a barely audible voice. "I did not want to be circumcised, my husband did not want me circumcised, but the rest of the community did and so I was tied up and held down while the 'cutter' did her business. It was the most horrific experience of my life."

Paralysed for life

The 'operation' did not go as planned. Betty bled a great deal over the course of the next few weeks. She was too weak to get out of bed. When the wound finally did heal up, Betty discovered that she was unable to walk. The cutter had paralyzed her, along with two other young women who were circumcised the same day.

"A few months later my husband abandoned me and I have been living alone in this shack for almost three decades," says Betty. "Only my mother helps me out."

Her two girls have families of their own and have moved away and her two boys seldom come around.

Betty barely ekes out a living selling simple household supplies and a few drugs, such as aspirin. "I was just 22 when they cut me," she says, a deep sadness in her eyes. "I had a life then and they took it from me. No girl or woman should have to endure this gruesome practice."

Promoting change

Out of misfortune, Betty has found a new calling. She is now a vocal advocate for eliminating female genital cutting (FGC) in this remote, mountainous region through a programme called REACH (Reproductive Education and Community Health) launched by UNFPA in the mid-1990s. She is part of a growing network of women and men who are working for the complete elimination of this harmful practice, which leaves many suffering incontinence, excessive bleeding, urine retention, paralysis and even death during childbirth, as well as psychological trauma. In addition, girls and woman are more at risk from HIV and other infections.

REACH has reached out to communities in the region in a way never before attempted. Its approach is community-based and multi-sectoral. "We work on many levels here," explains Grace Mwanga, a nurse at the local youth-friendly health clinic in Kapchorwa. "We mobilize people at the community grassroots level, work with church leaders, village elders, local politicians, youth and most important of all, the women who perform circumcision and depend on it for their livelihoods."

Advocacy activities are aimed at a broad cross section of the population. "This integrated approach works well," points out Jackson Chekweko, co-ordinator of the project for the Family Planning Association of Uganda (FPAU), one of the implementing agencies. "It has allowed us to change attitudes and practices in a very conservative, traditional region in a relatively short period of time."

 

Jackson Chekwoke, REACH Project Manger, Uganda. © Charlotte Metcalf

Jackson Chekwoke, REACH Project Manger talks to villagers about the pitfalls of female circumcision© Charlotte Metcalf

 

Attitudinal change is not easy, especially when confronting ancient practices and beliefs. "No one really knows when the practice of FGC began here," explains Chekweko. "It was started by the Sabine people many centuries ago [the Sabine tribe is the dominate one in this region]. In the old days, women could be killed if they refused to go through with it. But we have made significant inroads in eliminating it."

'Dirty instruments'

Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 130 million women worldwide have undergone some form of female circumcision, from light cutting to complete infibulation. This thousand year old tradition stubbornly persists across much of Africa and the Middle East. In sub-Saharan and North Africa, 28 countries routinely practice female genital cutting, with prevalence rates varying from 5 per cent in the Democratic Republic of Congo to 98 per cent in Somalia, the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf States. In Egypt, some 97 per cent of married women aged 15-49 have been circumcised. WHO reports that every day some 6,000 young girls are subjected to female circumcision (or over 2 million girls a year), often in unsanitary conditions with "dirty" instruments.

According to George William Cheborion, who, at 76, is Chairman of the Village Elder's Association of Kapchorwa, REACH is rooting out the practice one village at a time. "Today less than 50 per cent of the entire population of this region practices FGC," he says with a satisfied grin. "And even in those communities that still allow the practice, it is getting rare. We were able to affect real and lasting change through our community outreach efforts."

The model developed by REACH is being replicated in other regions, even neighboring countries. "We are collaborating with groups in Tanzania and Kenya who are also working to eliminate FGC," points out Cheborion.

Youth alliance

Chekweko agrees. "Community advocacy has really made the difference," he observes. "But the project got a big shot in the arm in 2002, when the African Youth Alliance (AYA) joined the fight to end female circumcision." AYA is funded by a generous grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is administered by three agencies: UNFPA, PATH and Pathfinder International. Like REACH, AYA's approach is youth-oriented and community-based. "It was a good marriage," says Chekweko, who is also the AYA focal point with the FPAU. "We needed more advocacy with young people and more health services designed for youth, and AYA provided that strategic support."

 

Beatrice Chelangat, REACH Project Manager, Kapchorwa, Uganda. Photo: Don Hinrichsen

Beatrice Chelangat, REACH Programme Manager in Kapchorwa, in front of a mural advocating the elimination of violence against women and children© Don Hinrichsen

 

Beatrice Chelangat, REACH's Programme Manager in Kapchorwa, has been a community activist most of her life. "Our journey has not been easy, but we have noted a big change in attitudes regarding FGC," she explains. "Out of 10,000 Sabine girls only 1 per cent underwent genital cutting in 2003/2004."

In some communities change has been swift and dramatic. In the remote village of Cheptuya, buried at the end of a valley and reachable only by a washed out road, FGC dropped from 90 girls in the mid-1990s to 30 girls in 1999/2000 to zero by 2002. "There the village elders stamped it out," says Chelangat.

'Circumcision too cruel'

 

Kokop Night, former cutter has renounced female circumcision. Photo Don Hinrichsen

Kokop Night, former cutter has renounced the practice.© Don Hinrichsen

 

Another reason why the practice is dying out fast in some areas is the fact that the project also focused on the circumcisers themselves. Sitting by a tent in a rain soaked field, beaten down by hordes of goats and sheep, sits 80 year old Kokop Night, a former cutter who, thanks to the project, has renounced the practice and vowed never to take up the knife again. Speaking through an interpreter she explains how she got involved. "My mother was a cutter, and her mother before her, as far back as anyone can remember," she explains in a harsh, scratchy voice. "It continued for so long because few saw the harm in it and as cutters, we made a lot of money. I used to get 15,000 shillings per girl and might circumcise up to 20 girls in one day."

Now that Kokop has ceased being a cutter REACH is helping her find alternative sources of income. She may get a small micro-loan to raise chickens. Though her standard of living has dropped, Kokop has no regrets about giving up circumcision. "This practice has to end," she says with finality, "it is too cruel."

 

Shara Chekwech, 17, (on right in red) will not allow herself to be circumcised. Photo: Don Hinrichsen

Shara Chekwech, 17, (on right in red) will not allow herself to be circumcised.© Don Hinrichsen

 

In a small cluster of huts not far away from Kokop, several young girls explain why they will not allow anyone to circumcise them. "We have been sensitised on this issue," explains Shara Chekwech, a bright 17-year-old. "I talked to older women who went through with it and have suffered a lot since. I decided then and there not to allow anyone to do such a thing to me. And my parents agreed."

Shara's decision not to get circumcised was reinforced by school-based sessions, which emphasised life-planning skills. Most schools in the region have introduced life skills planning as part of the informal curriculum. Meanwhile, advocacy efforts by village elders, religious leaders and parents have reinforced the rejection of the practice among young women.

As a testimony to the success of the initiative, REACH received UNFPA's annual Population Award in 1998. "It certainly hasn't been an easy road," says Chekweko, "but we will persevere. We have momentum now and the will to change is visible."

Betty Cheboi has found some comfort in the fact that in her village and neighbouring areas the practice has been stopped. "I speak out against female circumcision every chance I get," she says almost breathless. "And many young women listen to me. When I see that my words have reached them it is the only time I feel like smiling."

 

{Compiled by SIDO Editorial Team; Source: people and planet. net by Don Hinrichsen

 

 


 120 Sabaot-Uganda Girls Genitally Mutilated Despite a New Law 

                              - Posted 13 December, 2010.

 

  - Picture of traumatized Sabaot-Girls after Genital Mutilation Operation

 

       Late last week, an estimated 120 young women of the Sabiny ethnic group in Uganda were forced to undergo severe form of genital mutilation despite a new law banning the practice. The mass "circumcision," involving the removal of the clitoris and other parts of their genitalia, took place in public with crowds looking on. The fact that leaders of the Sabaot-Sabiny carried out the genital mutilation despite the new law--in fact, in open defiance of it--has sparked public debate about the limitations of legal strategies operating in a vacuum.

       In theory, the law poses strict penalties against those who perform or facilitate FGM.

According to the law, "aggravated FGM"--when death occurs or where the victim is disabled or is infected with HIV--results in life in prison. Parents, guardians, health workers, or "persons with control over the victim," can be charged with aggravated FGM. The law also states that "others who engage in FGM shall be im."

In practice, the law is being openly flouted.

        FGM is one of those "cultural" practices, the sole purpose of which is to control women.  According to the Sabiny, reports New Vision, "a girl is circumcised to initiate her into adulthood. The clitoris is cut out to interfere with a woman's arousal process." It also interferes with her life and health.  Where FGM does not lead to immediate death due to infection caused by the use of dirty instruments, it is associated with higher rates of pain during sex, sexually transmitted infections and HIV, problems urinating, and complications in labor and delivery leading to higher rates of maternal mortality and morbidity. Not surprisingly, and complicating the overall picture, is the fact that FGM is practiced in cultures that also promote high fertility, measuring the value of women by the number of children they bear. More pregnancies lead to higher risks of complications.

Reports from the site of the mass circumcision of Sabiny girls and women are gut-wrenching.  A New Vision reporter writes:

Some cried. Some were confused. Others still traumatised, while many were left speechless.  They looked on in disbelief as a local female surgeon tried in vain thrice, probably using a very blunt knife, to cut off a girl's clitoris.She then asked for another, similarly blunt knife and to make it work, applied extra force, going back and forth, the way a saw cuts into timber.

  The girl struggled not to show fear and to contain her trembling, which is culturally unacceptable and would have attracted scorn and ridicule from the attentive crowd. As blood gushed from her private parts, the crowd urged the girls: "Be strong! You are almost done! Remain calm!" Once cut, the girl was pushed aside, like a slaughtered chicken, her legs put together as if to stifle the pain and another descended upon.

        Two knives were used to operate on 8 young women (whom the reports characterize as "girls.")

The girls "wrapped in dirty blankets and strewn all over a compound hosting two huts," were circumcised by a local female "surgeon."

        The circumciser would first throw fine millet flour into their private parts to reduce friction and wetness. 

She used the same knife to cut each of them. The knife was not sterilized, exposing all of them to the risk of the deadly HIV.

The cuts lasted close to 50 seconds. As the mutilated girls lay helpless, an old woman, threw millet flour over them to appease the spirits and ordered them to kneel so that the blood could pour out.

Most of the girls were barely in their early twenties but someone in the crowd said they were all married. "Girls here marry by their 15th birthdays," he said.

        "A few minutes later, the girls were told to march into a hut where they would spend the next three weeks healing from the mutilation. But they did not march; they staggered." These eight are among more than 120 girls who have been mutilated in the Sebei region since the "FGM season" kicked off in Sebei in eastern Uganda.

As reported by New Vision, according to Alfred Ayebwa, the LC1 chairman for Kapkorosia village, over 50 girls were mutilated in Kabei and Kortuk sub-counties, 20 in Chesower sub-county, and 34 in Chekwasta sub-county. Another 16 were mutilated in Suam sub-county.

        Bukwo vice-chairman John Chelangat said the mutilation was done between midnight and two in the morning, behind closed doors. "This is due to fear of the new law that calls for the ban on FGM and gives harsh penalties to anybody participating in FGM or withholds any information about it," he said.

Critics blame what they contend have been failures to build support for the new law, to conduct effective public education campaigns on the consequences of female genital mutilation, and to enlist support for social change within the communities in question. And while FGM persists in part because women are effectively seen as property, the women who do the cutting also depend on it for income, further increasing resistance to ending the practice.

A New Vision editorial, for example, argued that "FGM is still treasured by the Sabiny as a cultural practice [and] [n]o one should think that enacting a law against FGM would be enough to stamp it out. A lot more is required, mostly in sensitising the masses about the evils of circumcising girls."

"[P]rotracted sensitisation, backed by supportive social structures like easy accessibility to schools, mass media and factors of production, is needed in Bukwo, Kween and Kapchorwa urgently. UNFPA accessed funding for this but has concentrated most of its work outside the region."

        New Vision reports on the limited reach of international funding and support for campaigns to eradicate FGM:

The United Nations allocated about $300,000 (about sh600m) for FGM activities but, to-date, people on the ground report no sensitization activities. The national gender officer for the UN Fund for Population Activities, Brenda Malinga, said some of the money has been used at the national level to get the law working and the rest was supposed to be disbursed to the districts in November for sensitisation about the law. She says last year, focus was mainly on enactment and enforcement of legislation against FGM. "We have been supporting training on community dialogue for FGM abandonment in Amudat, Bukwo and Kapchorwa. We also simplified the new law for them."

        But when Saturday Vision visited FGM districts, no impact was seen. And the FGM season started in July 2010.

Women who make their living by circumcising girls complained that "FGM activists promised them compensation for income lost but up to now, nothing has been done.""We shall continue cutting girls because this is where we get our income. They have also not sensitized us and we do not know what is in the law," said Sunday Kokop, the surgeon in Suam-sub-county. 

Changing deeply ingrained cultural practices like FGM is not easy, though it has been successfully tackled in other places.

In Uganda, rural poverty is a barrier to change.

       The lack of sensitisation about the law can be blamed on factors like lack of a radio especially in Bukwo district to carry the message, low levels of education and high levels of poverty.

Alex Cherop, 34, of Chesimat village in Kortek sub-county, said nobody has ever told them to abandon FGM. They hear about a campaign in Kapchorwa but do not know how it fits in their culture and customs.

The police are also unable to enforce the law because they do not have vehicles or other resources needed to patrol rural areas.

"We lack transport and most of the places are vast and hilly for us to reach," said Bukwo district Police chief, James Wamwenyerere.

        Moreover, it is difficult to get victims to help prosecute cases.  Becasue of fear of social censure or violence against them, women and girls who have been mutilated often will not speak out in identifying those involved.

And then there is the curious approach of arresting the victims themselves.  Police told New Vision about a case in which they arrested four girls who had undergone FGM and five of their parents. But, according to the district police chief, "they refused to name the people who mutilated them. They told the magistrate that they mutilated themselves."But this is also an issue of pure discrimination of women exacerbated by politics. District leaders have expressed concerns about campaigning against FGM because they are afraid they may lose their personal political power.

        "Local leaders are reluctant to swing into action because... they may lose votes," reports New Vision.

Still, there is hope that this episode will catalyze more concrete action. In response to the mass mutilation event among the Sabiny, and perhaps due to international publicity, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni earlier this week promised to build boarding schools in the region to act as safe havens for girls seeking refuge from being mutilated. "We are going to build boarding schools so that we protect our children from these local surgeons," Museveni told the cheering crowds at Kween district headquarters. He described the practice as backward and ungodly. "How can you oppose God? God wired human beings the way he wanted them to be. You cannot be more clever than God to change his creation," he said.

        The President also urged the surgeons to form an association so that he could help them find an alternative source of income. These suggestions have been on the boards for some time. Last year, the equal opportunities committee of Uganda's Parliament asked the Government to build model schools, where vulnerable girls will be kept during school days and holidays, until they are of age to resist the practice.

 

News Article by SIDO Team Courtesy of New-Vision Newspaper (Uganda) and RH Reality Check Report (A Reproductive Health and Justice News Site)