In February 2015 I met Nashipai. A beautiful 14 year old Kenyan girl. Shy and humble she took my hand and with great pride showed me her home. Nestled in the corner was a cot and in it a five month old child. At the age of 12 Nashipai was cut; her genitals removed in a rite of passage which would see her become a woman in the eyes of her community. By 13 she was married to an abusive older man in his 50’s; no longer attending school; this was now her life. Whilst she was pregnant she was beaten so badly she feared for her life and that of her unborn child. Summoning every ounce of courage she possessed she fled to a rescue centre and began the process of rebuilding her life and raising her daughter.
Nashipai’s story is not unusual. Worldwide an estimated 140 million women and girls are living with the consequences of FGM and 3 million are at risk each year.
In Kenya the latest data shows that nationally around 27% of girls and women aged between 15-49 have had FGM (2008). This has reduced from 37% in 1998. There are significant variations within the country and some ethnic groups have very high rates of practice, whilst others do not carry out the procedure at all. Amongst the Maasai, FGM is still widely practiced and the prevalence is at 73%.
In February 2015 I also met Nancy. Also 14 her life was vastly different to that of Nashipais’. Nancy was the first woman in her family to not undergo FGM.
With the help and support of her family she did not face the barbaric procedure and is now enjoying gaining an education and thriving in school, and dreams of becoming a Doctor.
Last year following a year of planning and joining up with 28 Too Many, and the Maasai Cricket Warriors I was part of the team which delivered the first ever CWB anti-FGM project. We thought this project was a pilot, and today we are delighted to announce that CWB is firmly committed reach many more people and use the medium of Cricket to educate on and eradicate this abusive practice.
As FGM Programme Lead I am excited about the next few months as we launch a new programme of work both in Kenya and in the UK. In June we will travel once again to Kenya, working in partnership with the Massaii Warriors and 28 Too Many, we aim to deliver our cricket programme to 2000 young people and adults.
In addition to this CWB will launch a pilot UK programme. Adopting a multi-agency approach, CWB plans to engage girls in communities affected by FGM , teach them cricket skills and work to eradicate this practice. Current figures suggest that over 60,000 girls in the UK aged 10-14 were born to mothers who had undergone FGM. Furthermore there are approximately 130,000 women living in Britain who have undergone FGM.
Today sees us Celebrate International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. Spare a thought today for Nashipai and Nancy and the millions of other young women who are at risk of this abusive practice and show your solidarity by supporting CWB.
For more information on our FGM work please contact Hannah@cricketwithoutboundaries.com
To make a donation to our FGM work please visit: https://cricketwithoutboundaries.charitycheckout.co.uk/endfgm
FGM Programme Lead