Campaigner: Vincent Ogallo
Location: Kuria – Migori country
Total Arrests: 38
Girls saved: 512 girls saved from FGM all were given safe houses to stay in through the cutting period.
Preparations and Strategy:
In late November preparations began for FGM, we brought the police to the radio to tell people what will happen if they cut their girls, the police declared: “Arrests will be made!”
“The Team fighting FGM in Kuria was made up of 30 champions working together through the support of GMC.”Vincent Ogallo
- We gave each champion airtime and money for their transport to facilitate their travel
- A ‘Champions WhatsApp’ group was created where we also added security personnel and 30 End FGM monitors (individuals ready to reveal FGM plans and the ceremony’s as they unfold).
- The monitors know the villages well and can inform us of the girls at risk, aswell as the households exact location this is how we pick up the cases and rescue the girls in real time – the police are led to the exact location of each case
- 7 rescue spaces were created – (4)churches and schools (2) -: Zion International Church, Ravine Church, Hope Church, Komotobo mission church, Kubweye mixed secondary and Taranganya boarding school, Goceso women rescue – also converted their office as a rescue space.
Phase 1 :
Between 1st December – 15th December, 312 girls were rescued – 16 of them were held at a holding centre at the local police station. They were given temporary safe shelters and then later joined the safe shelters.
3 out of 4 clans said they would cut but then it was announced mid December that all would be cutting their girls – this was a new turn for us… but we responded.
Between 16th December – 31st December 200 more girls were saved in safe shelters
From 31st December – 16th January, 57 girls were rescued and taken to safe houses
Looking back : December 2021- January 22
Total figure: rescued 411, only 2 rescue spaces, over 500 girls went through FGM
December 2022- January 23 Final Figures:
“This year we came back stronger. We knew how to report cases effectively and our monitors know every household.”Vincent Ogallo
- Only 31 cases of FGM have so far been reported across the cutting season in Kenya in comparison to 500 girls last year.
- 512 rescues – (the figure is higher as there are more interventions – from other stakeholders, the number is likely to be around 900).
- Total arrests in Kenya = 38 and 6 were referred to the Tanzanian police. Most of the arrests are the mothers of the girls who were facilitating FGM and failed to report it.
- No cutters have been arrested yet, 1 suspected but released on bond as the case proceeds.
- 10 of these have been determined: 8 have been jailed – one has been sentenced to 7 years, and another has been sentenced to 4 years, 8/10 of the cases were determined guilty and the perpetrators have been given a minimum of 2 years: 7 mothers and 1 Father. The other 28 cases are still ongoing.
What has been different this year?
- FGM dynamics have changed. The girls used to be openly paraded and now it is more hidden. This is an indication of all the work we have done with the monitors. Last year we were not talking about secret cutting, now we are.
- The real-time, factual coordination has helped us too as well as security and who to involve in the meetings as not all chiefs can be trusted as we have learned in previous years.
- The use of the GMC Whistleblowers map has been remarkable – it has helped us to pinpoint the hotspots in Kuria – police use it to help them to make rescues on time.
- The live session updates with security – supported by GMC helped us also tremendously.
On the 20th of January, the girls went back to school and are safe now until next year as Kuria only has one cutting season. We now must use this time to sensitise the communities.
To read more about the impact campaigners have had in Kenya over this period… take a look at the latest impact measurements study.