The Chorwa African Inland Church in Marakwet East Sub-county has established a rescue center dedicated to providing shelter for girls fleeing from female genital mutilation (FGM). This initiative is a significant step in the fight against the outlawed practice within the region.
According to Kenya News Agency, Elgeyo Marakwet County Deputy Governor, Prof. Grace Cheserek, speaking at the church, announced the center’s capacity to temporarily shelter up to 50 girls at risk of FGM. The announcement coincided with the receipt of double-decker beds and assorted bedding from the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), valued at Sh1.7 million, to support the facility.
The Deputy Governor noted that the donation’s timing was crucial, especially during periods when FGM is traditionally practiced in the area. She urged the community to report any instances of forced FGM to the authorities and emphasized the importance of ending all forms of gender-based violence, including FGM, as the country embarks on its 16 days of activism against such violence.
Prof. Cheserek appealed to the community to nurture and protect children, stressing their potential as future leaders. She referenced her own journey as a leader and scholar, underscoring the importance of opportunities for young girls. The Deputy Governor also revealed plans for an alternative rite of passage program to replace FGM and efforts to establish a broader rescue center for various forms of gender-based violence, including support for male victims of domestic violence.
Paul Masese from the Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance called for community cooperation in protecting children’s rights. He acknowledged the UNFPA’s food donations to the center but highlighted the need for further community support to sustain the girls during their stay.
Reverend Joseph Cheserek, in charge of the church, affirmed their readiness to provide not only basic amenities but also spiritual support to the girls seeking refuge at the center.