The Girl Generation: the NGO determined to stamp out FGM in African countries

Hon. Jebii Kilimo has been influential in creating awareness about FGM and the urgent need to end it

Hon. Jebii Kilimo has been influential in creating awareness about FGM and the urgent need to end it

It is one of the leading non-governmental organisations that have been spear heading efforts to end FGM in Kenya and other African countries.

Launched December 2014 on the eve of international day of the girl child, The Girl Generation began with pioneering activists across the African continent, who have campaigned for change over many decades, often in the face of fierce opposition, and with very limited resources

For many years FGM has been culturally sensitive and for too long it has been taboo and a non-issue in practicing nations and communities.

The Girl Generation whose goal is to contribute towards ending FGM within a generation, has put efforts into accelerating the adoption of the new social norm of valuing the uncut girl child.

Secondly, the ngo aims to achieve structural changes to support this social change in terms of policy and legal framework, political will, health and education systems.

The Girl Generation will do this by catalyzing social change at national level measured by changes in public attitudes and awareness, levels of political will and investment, and levels of engagement and debate on the issue.
It will also lobby for international donor and private sector commitments to provide increased resources for national and local efforts to end FGM.

The Girl Generation has also formed a Strategic Advisory Group with members drawn from 10 different countries where FGM is mostly practiced.

The 12 member team which was formed on a rationale of those members who have campaigned for change on FGM most in African countries with less resources but also with different expertise on FGM band resource mobilization, Masudi Hamimu The Girl Generation Communications and Advocacy Manager says.

The Members are drawn from Kenya, The Gambia,Nigeria Somali land, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan,Eygpt, Burkina Faso, Senegal,Nigeria and South Africa.

Only one Kenyan sits on board the Strategic Advisory Group and that is Dr Linah Jebii Kilimo.The Chair of the Anti FGM Board who has been an avid crusader against FGM. She also is also credited for having pushed for Kenya’s Anti FGM Bill in 2011.

The 2014 Demographic Health Survey in Kenya (KDHS) released in April 2015 shows that Kenya’s current FGM prevalence rate stands at 21 per cent, down from 27 per cent over the past 5 years.

The office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) attributes the trend to “increased awareness on the harmful effects of FGM spearheaded by the ODPP coupled with effective prosecution of FGM cases in court”.

The decrease can be reinforced further through collaboration between government sectors – one of the key factors attributed to the general decline by UNICEF in their 2013 report.

A key year in the development of The Girl Generation was 2012, when several things happened; first, an African-led campaign successfully lobbied for a UN resolution banning FGM globally.

This provided legitimacy for the international community to get behind the campaign to end the scourge worldwide.

Through the UN resolution, UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) subsequently announced the largest ever single commitment to the cause 35 million pounds over a five year period.
The funds were meant to support efforts within practicing communities and would be managed by civil society organisations in at least 17 of the most affected countries.

Also in 2012 the NGO dedicated efforts to strengthen legislation and policy implemented by the UN Joint Programme, and to ramp up social change communications, and to galvanize a global movement to end FGM/C.

A research programme was also put in place that same year to produce a global evidence base and Nairobi University and other leading institutions will help in researching ways to eradicate FGM.

Thirty-seven out of the Kenya’s fourty-two ethnic communities in Kenya practice FGM and it is nearly universal among some such as the Somali, Abagusii and Kuria and over 50% among the Maasai.

Besides traditional FGM done in homes with rudimentary tools, health professionals are also increasingly contributing to the practice with a reported 40% of FGM cases performed by health personnel. This case is replicated in most of the African countries where FGM is practiced.