By Soloman Kiterie,
Soloman Kiterie is an anti-FGM campaigner who is passionate about ending FGM. He is now particularly interested in addressing cross-border FGM.
To mark the Day of African Child celebrations, I organized a radio talk show with Maurine Oduor who is the DSW Manager Western/North Rift Regions. I also sponsored a two-week radio jingle on BK Radio that is still running six times daily.
I used BK Radio, a local radio station broadcasting in both Sabaot and Kiswahili languages. The radio has an estimated audience reach of over one million, covering Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, West Pokt, Uasin Gishu, Nandi counties, and Eastern Uganda.
Though initially affected by the failure of the guest to turn up on the originally scheduled date, the project was quite successful. I had planned to host UNICEF Regional Manager to address cross-border FGM but he could not be able to attend the show due to his busy work schedule and poor connectivity in Lodwar, Turkana County where his office is based.
However, Maurine was able to address the emerging trends on FGM in Western Kenya, pointing out the need to collaborate with everyone including the community members, CSOs, ODPP, Police, and child protection units in combating FGM, child marriages, teenage pregnancies, and other sexual and reproductive health issues affecting teenage girls and women.
Strong messages from the project:
- Protecting our teenage girls against FGM child marriages and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence should be the responsibility of everyone. Parents, county governments, national governments, and other partners should play their part in protecting the rights of the child.
- Every child should be accorded their right to health, including SRHR. There is a need to set up youth-friendly services at our hospitals to help in access youth-friendly services
- The rights of the child MUST be protected. The law must be implemented, and there is a need for child-friendly legislation.
- All harmful practices that are subjected to our children, including FGM and child marriages should be eliminated in our communities. It is the responsibility of everyone to protect children from harmful cultural practices, and violations of their rights.
There is a need to address cross-border FGM between Kenya and Uganda. I will therefore look for influential people from Kenya and Uganda to collectively address the issue and share best practices that can be used in ending cross-border FGM