"FGM is deeply ingrained in my community to the extent that community members cannot fathom coexisting with a girl who has not undergone this procedure. In August, as I was riding my bicycle to the farm at dawn to tend to my crops, I encountered two women on the road. One of them was Judy, my neighbor. After exchanging greetings, I couldn't help but wonder why they were out so early. When daylight arrived, I sought out Judy to inquire about the situation. She revealed that she had accompanied the individual who performs FGM on women and girls, and they had completed the procedures for all the girls scheduled that night. I expressed gratitude for the information and assured her that when my two daughters reached the appropriate age by December, I would contact her to arrange for the procedure. Upon returning home, I shared this plan with my wife, who welcomed it eagerly, anticipating the occasion in December.
However, in the month of September, our quarterly training with St. Martin staff coincided with a session on children's rights. Unfortunately, this proved to be a significant turning point for me. The training shed light on various violations, including FGM and its detrimental impact on girls and women. It struck me deeply to realize that my intended actions went against the rights of children and were, in fact, illegal. Our culture had ingrained this practice as a rite of passage throughout our upbringing. For the first time, I found myself questioning our cultural norms and certain practices, including child marriage.
Without confiding in my fellow volunteers, I made a personal commitment that my daughters would not endure such a painful ordeal. I shared this conviction with my wife, but she vehemently resisted, even resorting to insults and derogatory remarks directed at our daughters, suggesting that they would never find suitable partners and would forever be outcasts. Family conflicts ensued, but eventually, my wife relented upon realizing the strength of my conviction. Thanks to the enlightening education provided by St. Martin, I now fully comprehend the severe physical, social, and psychological consequences of FGM on girls and women. I could not bear to subject my daughters to such suffering, despite opposition from my wife and relatives. As a result, I enrolled my daughter in a boarding school in Nyahururu, far removed from our community where FGM remains prevalent."
Peter, a Community Peace Ambassador (CPA) who accompanied Joseph, also expressed his determination to eradicate FGM from their community. “I desire to see FGM eliminated from my community. While I acknowledge that this is a tall order due to social and gender norms, St. Martin has equipped me with the knowledge, skills, and willpower to spread the fight against FGM beyond my household into the community.”