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Chief Horrified by Pictures, gets Joins Activists to End FGM, Kajiado County, Kenya

By Alice Masinte

  • Media activities including photos and radio talk shows are proving to be a powerful force of change. Campaigner and FGM survivor Alice Masinte shares her media campaign activities which involved talking to the chief of Moran on Mayian Radio, about his wish to join other activists and end FGM.

Engaging Chiefs and Elders in the End-FGM campaign is crucial because these figures are looked up to... especially in remote communities. It is good that more are joining the end-FGM campaign.

“FGM has been sustained by secrecy – and the fact that the horror of mutilation goes on out of sight of influential men has allowed it to continue. But once these men have seen the reality of FGM for themselves – they can help end it by reaching out to hundreds of thousands of people via local media and ordering an end to FGM. Men like Chief Kilamia Sapuda are key to ending this.”

Maggie O’Kane, Executive Director at Global Media Campaign (GMC)

The project’s main purpose was to engage the local Radio (Mayian FM). I, being an activist and Survivor, talked about the effects of FGM and Teenage Pregnancies, which are becoming so common in Narok County. I also invited the chief of Morans (warriors).

The Chief of Morans, heads 6000 other Morans (men aged 15-35yr). He talked about the harmful traditional practices and gave reasons on why it was practiced a long time ago.

“All this was done in order to ensure that a girl moves to another stage ready for marriage after the cut but many girls didn’t attend school and many were getting married immediately after the cut. After attending different seminars and training, we saw photos of girls dying while undergoing the cut. I, being a traditional leader, decided to join activists in order to save our young girls and daughters.

Chief of Moran (Kilamia Sapuda)
The Chief of Moran and Alice Masinte at Maasai Radio, Mayian FM

More About Chief Kilamia Sapuda:

Kilamia Sapuda is the head of Morans (Masai warriors). He was chosen due to his vibrant, energetic, and vocal personality. Being the head of 6000 Morans, he plays a key role. He, therefore, doesn’t miss any important community functions or ceremonies and he is a key decision-maker.
Following various workshops and training from Naret Intoiye CBO on how to achieve a gender-equal society and end harmful practices, he got so much interested in campaigning for the same.

Kilamia was inspired by the Tanzanian president who is a woman and uncut. He said in one of the community dialogues:

“Our neighboring country’s head is a woman who is not cut. Why then subject this to our girls? Girls who are not cut, can complete school and achieve their dreams.”

Chief Kilamia Sapuda
Kilamia helps us in organizing and he also attends community dialogues. He teaches other young men that education is the best gift they can give to their daughters.

He acts as our ambassador at the community and county level because he strongly stands and fights against FGM. In his last talk, he publicly said that morans should marry uncut girls for a better future, which without health complications.

Kilamia is also the chairman of the Nyumba Kumi initiative. This is an initiative started by the Kenyan Government at the village level so that every 10 households has a leader for good security, peace, and good relations amongst themselves. Being the head of all the others, he ensures that no girl is subjected to FGM.

Project success:

We were able to reach 50,000 people or radio and on social media. We received several phone calls from different parts of the country

A New Campaigner! Huge success!

Having the chief of Maasai morans as a new anti-FGM campaigner will enable us to move into different areas. Together, we will advocate for girls’ rights and ensure that all harmful practices, especially FGM, come to an end. As part of his daily role, the chief has a platform to hold and chair community dialogues (including men and women), organizing mentorship workshops for girls when schools are closed, attending public participation/events, and letting people know that he stands strongly against FGM and using media (local Radio, local TV) to create awareness on effects of FGM. He has promised to use his position at the community level to take charge and talk to people on ending FGM.

Strong messages:

  • It is possible to engage new leaders and chiefs and make a huge difference to many girls’ lives!
  • Most of the people who called said that FGM is still being practiced but they hide, meaning there are no ceremonies being held.
  • Teenage pregnancies are still high. There is a need for more creation of awareness
  • The CEO Anti FGM Board, Benadette Loloju applauded us for the good work and shared the GBV toll-free number(1195), that anyone can call at any time in case they need help. She also gave the number in vernacular so that everyone could understand. She said that the board will give the necessary support needed to the youth in order to help end FGM.

My next Media Campaign:

Next time I will go to the studio with an ex-cutter because they are experienced on the reasons why girls are being cut. They can also share their stories on why they have opted to stop. This way, some of the questions that were being asked can be answered by them. They will be able to give a clear picture of how the practice is being done and give reasons on why FGM should end.

We wish Chief Kilamia Sapuda the best of luck as a new campaigner as he has applied for a Direction Grant (DAG) from GMC in October for the Day of the African Child! 

Follow up interviews with the Global Media Campaign to end FGM about this story or any other story on our website please contact Jeremiah Kipainoi, Director of Communication at GMC based in Kenya 

Jeremiah@globalmediacampaign.org 

Or Maggie O’Kane Executive Director of GMC in London. 

+447769640685

Maggie@globalmediacampaign.org 

Ruth Harley

Ruth Harley is an opera singer, writer, and creative. She is running The Women’s Vinyl Project which empowers women and girls through singing and music. She is working with GMC as the Website News Editor, compiling stories written by End FGM campaigners working with the Global Media Campaign to End FGM across Africa.