Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cursed for fighting FGM

Locals like Ms Josephine Kulea, who joined the war against underage marriage and female circumcision risk being cursed by conservative village elders, who view them as enemies of culture.

Three years ago elders elders invoked the Ldeketa, a terrible curse reserved for cultural outlaws. “They told my mother to get ready to bury me, that after the curse I was as good as dead,” says the 28-year-old registered nurse.

But the nurse says she does not mind being cursed. Not as long as she snatches as many little girls as possible from the tight grip of harmful traditions like female circumcision and early marriages.

In her Samburu community, elders wield enormous power over the lives of ordinary villagers — from deciding who marries who to quietly settling life and death disputes like rape, defilement and incest.

In their court, many young men get away with rape and defilement for as little as one cow! Ms Mulea says the old men remain the greatest enemy of the Samburu child.

“Right now there is a 10-year-old girl Class Four girl who the elders want married. The elders do not realise that it is illegal,” says Ms Mulea. The police and some provincial administrators, who have failed to act on reported cases of female circumcision and early marriages are the other big enemies of the children.

Gender minister Esther Murugi says her office is seriously understaffed and under-equipped. The Children’s Department, she says, is operating with half the required staff. Reaching such cases as Itoms is an uphill task: the department lacks enough vehicles.


Ambassador Lucy .s .Mashua President of Mashua's voice for the voiceless International
Assisting refugees in the US and representation in advocasy
The Global Ambassador for fighting Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and standing up for Women’s Rights.
And the Chairperson of a worldwide campaign against FGM.