By Ann Wambui
On March 14 2019 at 6am, a group of youth started their journey to Igembe North, Meru county where they would meet elders of the Njuri Ncheke as they laid a monument to commerate a journey of partnership to fight Female Genital Mutilation in the county.
This monument was laid in the memory of Jelida Gaichuri who died on December 16 2018 after enduring complications a week after undergoing Type 2 fgm, which was confirmed by Pathologist Dr Michael Kariuki. Gaichuri’s family asked the hospital to dispose her body as she already was a bad omen, before fleeing from home leaving her body cold and unclaimed.
For about 6 hours on the road we arrived at the chief’s office where we met women ready with chats engraved in bold anti-fgm messages as the County Director Gender Affairs flagged off a peaceful procession aimed at raising awareness of fgm in the area and strongly condemning that it resulted to the death of 14-year-old.
The procession started from the administrative office, through the market and ended at the Njuri Ncheke social home where we were received quite well kicking off the afternoon program with prayers from an elder.
Present were elders, national and county officials, FIDA Kenya, Maendeleo ya Wanawake, youth activists, men and women from the area and local media calling out fgm that is now being done in secret to an extent of medicalization. This is to mean that a professional medical person comes to the home and does the procedure.
In Meru, there is a 31% fgm prevalence rate. New trends are emerging or rather fgm cases are being reported in places where they had not been heard off. As a youth, i feel burdened knowing that there is a girl, a woman at a risk of undergoing fgm without the knowledge that it is not only dangerous but also a crime according to the Kenyan constitution in the Prohibition of FGM Act 2011.
Speaking was Kate Thiakunu who has done tremendous job following up with the case since reporting in December 2018. Kate found support of the elders and asked them to extend the same with others who are seekimg justice for the lass who had no one to stand up for her.
Representative from the Maendeleo ya Wanawake group pointed out that these tasks are life threating amd because they know the circumsicors, administrative protection during operations to arrest the perpetrators would make a huge difference. Njuri Ncheke elders are highly respected people in the Ameru community and therefore they assured their full support to make arrests and push for justice for Jelida.
As it stands Office of the Director of Public Prosecution has not reverted despite being reached out to for comments and solution for this sensitive matter. The youth have grown tired of having bodies that neglect the call of the people they serve.
Jelida’s monument was launched in great partnership with FIDA Kenya to mark and affirm that stun action will be taken and justice given to the deceased and many other young girls in this country who are inferiorated and dismissed by the society that their voices cannot count when it comes to matters such as fgm.
As the sun set behind the hills , the team sat back to appreciate a great course of dedicated males and females taking a stand to condemn this barbaric act. When it is all said and done, the call to action is that the police and all the departments working around child protection, human rights e.t.c combine efforts to bring an end to fgm and providing hope for all.
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