In rural, off-grid areas of Kenya, old customs still remain.
Wearing traditional folk costumes and jewelry, the locals welcome visitors with singing and dancing in large numbers, creating a fun and joyous scene that makes people truly feel welcome. But not all traditional customs are as heartwarming and good. There are also some customs that should be reformed in modern times, such as child marriage and FGM (female genital mutilation). Being pregnant while one’s body hasn’t fully matured presents a high risk for both mother and child, and raising children at such a young age deprives girls of education and other opportunities. FGM can also involve surgical removal with unhygienic blades, resulting in issues such as massive bleeding and suppuration (formation of pus). It also inflicts significant damage to the body and poses risks to both the physical and mental health of those subjected to this practice. FGM is now legally prohibited in Kenya. And while this custom has decreased in urban areas, it still persists in rural areas.
In collaboration with the UNFPA, which has been dealing with this issue, we are participating in projects that support women’s empowerment by donating solar lanterns that will allow women to escape poverty and reduce these customs from 2022.
And so, to respond to a reality that was unimaginable to us, we, along with members of the UNFPA, went to an area where these customs are being practiced.