THARAKA WOMEN WELFARE PROTECTING GIRLS FROM HARMFUL PRACTICE LIKE FGM AND EARLY MARRIAGES
By Rachel Mukami
Sub-Edited by Liberty Kituu
Tharaka women welfare program is aimed at safeguarding the life of women & girls rights by protecting them from harmful cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation, Early marriages, Forced marriages, boy child preference as while as Gender based violence.; Cording to the program coordinator mention that in the year 2003 many female children. Failed to complete their primary education due to effects which are caused by the above mentioned. Many girls children would not attend the learning because the process of FGM could take minimum period of 3 months in the house for healing and grown up stages; and therefore this contributed not even to respect their teachers especially women teachers by thinking they own same class of maturity.
Female genital mutilation in Tharaka, Tharaka nithi county affects community development about 70% of young girls they undergo human rights violation, isolation, lack of informed consent, and health risk, which includes epidermis cyst, recurrent urinary and virginal infection, chronic pain , and obstetrical complications and all was reported was done using unsafe objects leading to HIV infection (Girl Child Networking report,2013) tharaka station.
Early marriages in the same county is reported practiced highly and has affected community development as many cultures practice the traditional of marrying young girls that result to high school dropout ,illiteracy, children get malnourished, increase of mortality rate and dependency. Young girls have married old men and that resulting to increase of Gender based violence, (Tharaka women coordinator report, 2018) and this to reason why tharaka Women welfare program to came in with the following activities; that are carried monthly
• Develop civic education program to entire community of Tharak nithi
• Developed a policy that gives an enabling environment for the teenage mothers to go back to school and support them to achieve their dreams
• Improvement of the village polytechnics to enable the teenage mother acquire skills for their live hoods
• Creating awareness to the community on dangers of FGM and early marriages as sign of illiteracy lead to poverty indexes
• Compaining for NO TO FGM in the County
• Holding seminars and training to young girls to have informed consent and stand for their rights
• Giving empowerment and mentorship programs to women and girls realizing their strengths and women voices to be felt as they air out their concern
• Empowering women and girls to come out and stand for their Rights and on Governance and Leadership
• Involving government and duty bearers to support the fight and elimination of harmful practice that hindering development in their community
• Partnering with other stake holders to campaign of al the above challenges.
• Engaging the county legal team to formulate empowerment bill.
• Linking women entrepreneurs to join loan board
Meanwhile on all the above mentioned, the program also managed to reform many of FGM practitioners and circumcision members within the county, below find the attached photos and video clips of the same.
The following were discussed on the way forward on how to stop FGM
• Law enforcement to be taken firm to goes against
• Guidance and counselling to those affected by FGM.
• To partner and network on anti-FGM.
• Advocate for a bill rights that protect the practices and steps are taken to law breakers
• Mentorship programs to be carried both in schools and churches
• The government and NGOS to create rescue centers for such scenarios
• To hold Gender Based Violence Training to the people in the community and including the above mentioned activities.