Unsung Sheroes: Voices and Activism of Anti-FGM Champions in Kenya

Kenya has made incredible progress over the past few years when it comes to tackling traditional harmful practices, with the current data on FGM prevalence rates showing a reduction to 15 % across the country (DHS 2023). Some significant milestones include Kenya’s entry into force of several international conventions, local and regional agreements, and national laws. In addition, the Sustainable Development Goals have further amplified Kenya’s objective of eliminating FGM. But none of this progress would’ve been possible without the relentless activism of inspiring but unsung #EndFGM sheroes across Kenya’s local communities.

In March 2020, an opportunity to innovate and accelerate our partnerships across Africa presented itself when we at FORWARD joined forces with Kenya-based Akili Dada. The product of this collaboration was the long-overdue recognition of unsung anti-FGM champions through the ‘Accelerating African-led FGM Change Makers’ publication. Serving as a celebration of the Kenyans who never relent in fighting against injustice and traditional harmful practices, this project showcases the diverse #EndFGM journeys of women activists from all age groups and across various communities through three key themes: 1) Amplifying the voices of anti-FGM champions; 2) Her Story and local women’s visions for an FGM-free Kenya and world; and 3) TuWezeshe fellows and their achievements.

This means that the project also provided a unique opportunity to advance our TuWezeshe young feminist leadership programme. It does this by incorporating and celebrating the activist journeys of young Kenyan women who successfully completed their leadership training and #EndFGM social action projects following training and support provided by FORWARD and Akili Dada.

We welcome you to read the stories of change presented herein and hope you are left feeling inspired by the women’s unwavering commitments to sustainable progress in ensuring women and girls’ dignity, human rights and health are respected and protected across Kenya.

Read the report in full here.

This project was resourced by partners Comic Relief and the UN Spotlight Initiative.

As I continue to advocate for eliminating FGM, I wish to see more FGM survivors speaking up and protecting girls from the act. Through my organisation, I aim to sensitise communities to drop the act and educate their girls on the side effects of FGM. – Maryanne, Munyoyaya community

Please note: This publication comes with a trigger warning for lived experiences of FGM and other forms of VAWG.