Female circumcision, also known as Female Genital Cutting (FGC), is common among the Maasai, a semi-nomadic people who reside in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Although the procedure is illegal in Kenya and only a small minority of Kenyans condones Female Genital Cutting, a recent UN estimate suggests that 27 percent of Kenyan women aged 15 to 49 have undergone some form of the practice. Within the Maasai community, however, it remains more common – in some communities every adult Maasai woman counted in a recent survey had undergone female circumcision.
The solution we’re proposing
W4’s field project Voices of Hope is offering young Maasai women living in Kenya’s Kajiado District a way out of female genital cutting through full university scholarships. The young women graduates of this program go on to become active change-makers and leaders in their communities and models for other young women.
Faith is one such woman. After completing university and becoming a registered nurse, Faith is now running a mobile health clinic that tours the Maasai plains. In addition to reaching women who would otherwise never receive medical attention, she is also becoming a role model for Maasai girls as an uncircumcised, educated Maasai woman. Most of the villages she visits have never seen a Maasai woman complete primary school. Faith also gives seminars to both men and women about health issues including HIV/AIDS, nutrition, and the effects of FGM and underage childbirth, as well as about the importance of girls’ education.
The impact of giving
By funding a young Maasai woman’s university scholarship, you can help ensure that she has the chance to establish a sustainable livelihood and become a change maker like Faith. Educated, independent and respected by her peers and elders, she can lead the way in transforming mindsets from within Maasai society and eradicate the harmful practice of female circumcision.
Harness the power of education to help a young Maasai woman escape female genital cutting!