VILLAGE-BASED GROUPS INFLUENTIAL IN ENDING FGM AT THE GRASSROOTS, WEST POKOT COUNTY
I_Rep Foundation believes that communities hold the key to creating a lasting change to the FGM problems they face and are willing to drive this change from within its core. Involving community groups can result in relevant local strategies with greater impacts. This is the reason that the organization has been vital in building on community-based strategies by encouraging local community members to form locally-based groups to spearhead the FGM campaigns at the grass root levels. One such village-based group is RIKAT, that I_Rep supported and are currently very active in FGM campaigns in far flung areas like Kapatet, which has an FGM prevalence close to 100%.
This adoption of a bottom-up approach in dealing with the practice is the most effective avenue to abandoning FGM since these interactions put the community at the front position of their own progress. Communities have solutions to their own problems and therefore, it is crucial that more groups such as RIKAT be formed to strengthen prevention and abandonment of FGM at a local level. RIKAT has acted as community champions because they have driven a local opposition to FGM as they are raising awareness of the practice and mobilising widespread support for the campaigns to end FGM.
The value of community-led change in local FGM strategies has brought about strengthening and providing credibility for efforts to end FGM in Central Pokot. I_Rep foundation has equally been vital in
explaining legislation to the RIKAT group members to ensure it is understood and not seen as a threat or an attack. This group is ready to challenge and contest the FGM practice and in so doing be effective agents for supporting cultural change.
RIKAT group is looking forward to spread EndFGM campaigns to other villages within Mosop location. This is a great achievement as far as the fight against FGM is concerned. Therefore, I_Rep aims at supporting and empowering more of such groups to reach areas identified as FGM hotspots. Specifically, the foundation intends to form a group in Chepkokogh village, Lomut Ward.