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Pokot girls rescued from FGM and child marriage graduate

100 girls in West Pokot rescued from FGM and child marriage graduate with entrepreneurial and ICT skills

Head of DFID Kenya Lisa Phillips recently attended a graduation ceremony for girls from the Pokot community who completed trainings on social entrepreneurship and ICT. The over 100 girls who escaped from Female Genital Mutilation and forced early marriages will now become ambassadors to educate and sensitize the rest of the community on the dangers of FGM.

Speaking at the event, Head of DFID lauded the efforts by the organization working with the communities for encouraging girls to choose education over forced early marriages. West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin also encouraged parents to shun FGM activities and reminded those still practicing the same that the practice is against the laws of Kenya. He promised to continue allocating funds towards educating the girl child within his county. The girls who have mentors mainly from overseas and some locally will now proceed to various colleges and universities to pursue further education. They all promised to give back to the community and encourage other girls to focus on education. The initiative organised by Global Give Back Circle in collaboration with World Vision Kenya and Microsoft is aimed at fighting the vice of FGM among the pastoral communities.

Pokot is a predominantly arid region, frequented by severe drought throughout the year except for a few pockets which receive small amounts of rainfall that cannot raise up a crop to maturity. The effects of retrogressive cultural practices practiced over the years – among them female genital mutilation and early forced marriages have had a very negative effect on the development of children in this community. Hundreds of such children who need care and protection are rescued every year.

The UK has committed to putting girls and women at the heart of our development assistance. In July 2014, the UK government hosted the Girl Summit –which aimed at rallying a global movement to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) within a generation. The summit which was co-hosted by UNICEF, brought together women, girls and community leaders from the UK and overseas, alongside heads of state, practitioners, survivors, charities, community groups and celebrities.

World Vision Kenya (WVK) is a Christian humanitarian, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to helping children, families, and their communities reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. Together with its partners, World Vision supports preventing exploitation, harmful traditional practices and violence against children in their families and communities; protecting children living in vulnerable situations in communities; and restoring children who have been abused, neglected or exploited.

The Global Give back Circle (GGBC) is a pioneering Clinton Global Initiative Commitment for girls. GGBC started as a small initiative in 2006 and through partnerships with USAID, MasterCard Foundation, Microsoft and twenty private sector organisations. It scaled up to become the largest gender-based tertiary education scholarship, mentorship and workforce readiness programme for at risk girls in Kenya with 600 beneficiaries country-wide. Photos of the event