By Ambrose Pyatich Merian,
Umoja development organization [UD] is a community-based organization [CBO] that was formed in the year 2009 to promote children, women, and people with disabilities [PWDs] rights we operate in West Pokot County and some of our advocacy campaigns go a cross Ugandan border among Pokot in Amudat district, Tepeth in Moroto district and Kadama in Nakapirirpirit in Eastern Uganda. We work with these three communities since they practice FGM with a lot of cross-border FGM and CM.
During just concluded GMC campaign activities, we engaged the following: –
- Pokot Council of elder’s secretary to educate the general public about what Pokot culture says about FGM and its origin and he went also to talk about CM and other forms of GBV since they are experts in that field and they can give life experiences.
- Children officer educated the general public about various laws, Acts, and policies that protect children from FGM among other outdated cultural practices, he also went ahead to give the data of FGM reported cases, what has been done to protect children from the practice
Our teams Success:
I can say, the implemented activities ended very successfully since many listeners appreciated the radio talkshow and radio adverts and requested more of such radio programmes.One elder said ‘’Use of radio can reach many people and more so with the use of local language’’ Click To Tweet
One woman from Pokot North sub-county which is FGM, CM, and GBV hot spot areas side ‘’ The elder taught very well and said he wish it could be physical sensitization then it could add more impact, and also requested for more radio education programmes’’.
It is estimated the radio talk show reached over 750,000 in West Pokot County, Trans Nzoia, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, and parts of Sabiny and Amudat districts in Eastern Uganda.Listeners engage in End FGM conversations "There were 26 direct calls and 97 smses" West Pokot, Kenya Click To Tweet
Listeners engage in End FGM conversations “There were 26 direct calls and 97 smses”
During the 2 radio talkshow programme we conducted, the following strongly come out: –
- FGM, CM, and GBV have reduced in Pokot communities since there are some training and awareness creation meetings conducted in various parts of Pokot County
- FGM and CM are being done underground and in secret due to existing laws and the presence of law enforcement officers in their communities
- That some chiefs and police are sympathizers of FGM and CM perpetrators
- What can be done to prevent early pregnancies among school-going girls since they are the majority when it comes to getting pregnancies
- A lot of pregnancies occur among school-going boys and girls hence becoming difficult to report
- Boda (motorbike) guys/riders are the main culprits of impregnating school going girls
- There are places without law enforcement officers, poor road and network connectivity, and a lack of rescue centres or safehouses making rescues and referrals very difficult in those areas
Unexpected Wins is that the following day, after the radio programme, some women and youth leaders, chiefs, 2 FGM activists, 5 religious and opinion leaders called me appreciating the messages which were passed through the radio programme and requested more radio programme. We were not expecting some of them to be following the radio programme and that was very motivating
There are a lot of cross-border circumcisions and due to poor coordination between the 2 Country’s leadership hence becoming poor to arrest the culprits
I could get radio advertisements from different stakeholders like known ex-circumciser, role models, religious leaders, gatekeepers, opinion leaders, and key and influential elected and appointed leaders. On the same note, we could arrange and bring facilitators from across the border during the radio talk shows and radio advertisements.