Guest Blog by the Pastoralist Child Foundation.
Since 2013, Pastoralist Child Foundation’s (PCF) Alternative Rites of Passage (ARP) have been instrumental in lowering the rate of FGM in Samburu, Kenya. We have managed to decrease the former rate of 96% in East Samburu Ward down to 80%. Our replacement for “the cut” is through education and celebrations for groups of 60 girls during their school holidays in April, August, and December. PCF extends invitations to girls ages 8-17 in primary and secondary schools. The parent(s)/guardian(s) are informed of the ARP curriculum and our work to accelerate the abandonment of FGM, and give a permission slip for the child’s participation.
The girls attend classes, eat, sleep and play together for 4 days. Some arrive a little shy or hesitant at first, but by the second day they’ve made friends, and when it’s time to say goodbye there could be tears. The girls are amazing!! I see their positive energy, intelligence, thirst for knowledge, poise, pride, and determination to achieve their dreams. They want to be teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, engineers, broadcasters, pilots, etc. They know they can achieve their dreams if they take education seriously. I see so much hope in their eyes! They’re empowered!
The ARP curriculum is rigorous. The girls are given pens and notebooks and must take notes at every lesson. We advise them to share their notes with at least 10 people when they return to their villages.
The curriculum consists of the following main topics addressed in the ARP’s:
If you’re considering adding Alternative Rites of Passage to your organization’s activities, you’re thinking wisely and correctly. We believe it’s the best, safest, and most positive way to educate girls about FGM to advance its abandonment by the year 2030.