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Amudat Girls use Lockdown to Sneak to Kenya to be Circumcized

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URN reports that girls as young as 12 and above are eluding legal frameworks including law enforcement by sneaking for to cut themselves in small groups before the parents finally find them a specialist to complete the procedure.
Dorcus Chelain

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Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is on the rise in Amudat district, according to officials and anti FGM activists.

Uganda in 2010 outlawed the harmful practice but despite the legal instrument, the country has struggled ending the practice among the Pokot girls.

URN reports that girls as young as 12 and above are eluding legal frameworks including law enforcement by sneaking for to cut themselves in small groups before the parents finally find them a specialist to complete the procedure. However, data on numbers of girls going for FGM is scanty as the community conceal information, for fear of legal implications. According to the law anyone who procures, or sponsors FGM is culpable for imprisonment not exceeding 10 years on conviction.

According to Freda Amuron, the District Community Development Officer of Amudat, 4 cases were reported to the probation office and the Child and Family Protection Unit since October while another had 6 girls who had crossed to Kenya for FGM rescued by partners and Amudat in October.

Amuron contends that the actual number of the girls undergoing FGM in Amudat especially during the lock-down is actually much higher than reported because of concealment for fear of legal implications.

She explains that due to lock-down activism against the practice scaled down while the girls in schools are not with their parents some of whom consent to FGM.

//Cue in: “Its true fgm ...

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Dorcus Chelain, an anti FGM activist agrees that most girls took advantage of lockdown to go for FGM themselves before information is finally passed to the parents who then seek for a specialist in for further management of the condition. Chalain says the girls form groups and escape to the bushes in order to circumcise themselves.

//Cue in: “They cut themselves ...

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Chelain who is also the District Vice Chairperson as well as the founder of a women’s activist group against FGM in Amudat explains that strong social influence is a motivating factor for many girls to go for the ritual. She explains the community is still deeply supportive of the practice because its viewed as an initiation to marriage. 

She adds that it’s also seen as a sign of courage among girls who eventually become respectable women attracting higher bride prices.

Residents told Uganda Radio Network that the that girls are enticed to go for circumcision because of gifts given by parents, relatives and friends to the girls who have undergone FGM.

Chelain is urging the district in partnership with development partners and enforcement to step up sensitization campaigns against the practice that is increasingly becoming rampant. 

The RDC Amudat John Robert Adiama says enforcement of the FGM act is made difficult because its stealthily conducted and barely reported.

These cases are not brought to our attention but when we know about it, we respond, said Adiama on Friday.

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