A friend and I decided to spread the word about FGM

Jennifer, 18 (left) and Jackline, 15 (right) are friends as well as fierce campaigners against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in their communities. After witnessing the harmful consequences of FGM for young girls, they decided to take action, and now supported by Womankind partner FIDA Kenya to advocate for other girls like themselves.

Friends and anti-FGM campaigners Jennifer and Jackline campaign stand together, smiling.

Jennifer's story

“I was cut two years ago and I didn't understand why my parents let it happen to me. It was a terrible experience, but I had no choice. I will struggle if I give birth: I could even bleed to death because of the way they cut me. I didn’t know anything about FGM and, because I was a child, I had to accept it. I had the traditional FGM, which was very painful because they cut me really deep. Thankfully, I was allowed to go back to school.

A friend and I decided to spread the word about FGM and its harmful consequences to try to prevent it. In our Maasai community, we usually talk to one another – I warn the girls who haven’t had FGM. Often, the cutters use the same knife without cleaning it, so they can spread diseases like HIV.  I have managed to convince 15 girls to rebel against FGM and I'm really proud of it. 

I wish I had had the knowledge and courage to oppose my parents. Nowadays, the popularity of FGM is decreasing. I hope that in a year or two it will be over. I will keep on spreading the word: my aim is to convince more girls to stand up against FGM.

I want to show Maasai girls that anything is possible and teach their parents and the community that girls deserve to make decisions for themselves.

Jackline's story

"My life is good – I’m studying in secondary school and I’m really enjoying it. I like learning English and I hope to be lawyer; my dream is to help people and support human rights.

My father makes sure that I am protected and I know my rights as a girl. He is against FGM; he really stands up for what he believes in, even when the times are difficult. 

I really fear FGM and what it did to the girls I know. Many lost a lot of blood when they were cut and two girls in our county died. I am lucky that my dad stopped me from having it; I feel relieved and happy. Sometimes, other girls discriminate against me because I haven’t been cut. They say that even when I get married, I won’t be a full woman. I tell them it is none of their business: it’s my life

When girls have FGM they get married straight away, but now FIDA Kenya is working in our community to prevent it. Things are changing for girls in Kenya.”