Report of our 2nd. ARP, held in December 2011 in Ortum, Central Pokot.
I am happy to report another hugely successful week of seminars and a brilliant ceremony on December 10th. I have posted a couple of video clips and will shortly post photos.
!82 girls participated with around 60 of 2010’s girls joining towards the end of the week bringing the total number to 250!
We mostly followed our first ARP programme with some changes brought in after evaluation in 2010. This was mainly by including men in the programme. We invited 8 young Pokot men who spent a day taking the platform and discussing quite frankly with the girls issues surrounding FGM. The young men were all aware of the negative health consequences of FGM, also that FGM is illegal in Kenya. Some of the young men joined in the final celebrations. This consitutes great progress!
More evidence of progress and really good news is the new District Commissioner (D.C.) who spent a day with the girls counselling them, explaining about the law etc. He gave out his personal phone no. and encouraged the girls to call him any time day or night if they were in any danger, particularly being forced into having FGM performed. The D.C. invited us to hold our ceremony at the Chief’s compound in the centre of the village rather than at the girls’ school. He said we must take this message out to the general public. D.C. was the last person to speak on the day even speaking as night fell. In his words, “We have declared war on FGM”. The new D.C., Hon.Arap Kurui, is truly a great and enlightened leader!
If you have not already seen the Guardian film “Abandon the Knife”, can I recommend doing so. It provides great insight into this out-moded, dangerous and cruel practice and how difficult it can be for commun ities to abandon without extra help. You can also see in the film how desperate and eager the young women and girls are for change.
We are about to become a registered charity any day now which should make our fund raising easier. With more resources we would be able to spread the campaign message further afield throughout Pokot.