West Pokot County leadership has today decried an increased number of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) cases in the County during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
During a meeting presided over by Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh ahead of the commemoration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM tomorrow in Alale, West Pokot County, the leaders called for accelerated efforts to eradicate the practice by 2022.
While addressing the County leaders, Hon. Shebesh pledged full support from the National Government. “One of the key interventions that has proven to be effective is the provision of Affirmative Action Funds loans to the women cutters which is an alternative source of income,” she said.
The Chief Administrative Secretary urged the leaders to support the National Government in the empowerment program which she noted will go a long way in ensuring the eradication of the outlawed practice.
West Pokot County Governor, Hon. John Lonyangapuo noted that the County Government had invested heavily in Education through the provision of Bursary Funds for over 53,000 students in the County up from 15,000 in the previous financial year. This, he pointed out, had seen an increase in the enrolment of girls in schools which ensures that girls are safe from FGM.
Hon. Lonyangapuo also expressed concern over the rise of teenage pregnancy and early child marriage in the county during the pandemic and called on for more efforts to protect girls from being exploited.
In another earlier event, the Chief Administrative Secretary unveiled the West Pokot Anti-FGM Youth Chapter, where she challenged the youth to have an open conversation on FGM. She challenged the youth to support the fight against FGM in all the 22 hot spot counties.
“We shall unveil Anti-FGM youth champions in all the 22 Counties who will be our ambassadors at the community level in championing for zero FGM by 2022,” she said.
Later, the Anti-FGM Multi-Agency Committee visited Nasokol Primary School Rescue Centre to check on its status and they addressed the pupils who are being mentored through education.
Hon. Shebesh was accompanied by the Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Ms. Maureen Mbaka; UNFPA Country Representative Kenya, Dr. Ademola Olajide; Anti-FGM Board Chairperson and CEO Agnes Pareiyo and Bernadette Loloju respectively, the West Pokot County Anti-FGM Multi-Agency Committee; and County and National Government officials.
By Catherine Kamau