Working with activists, survivors, support groups, organizations whose core goal is ‘Ending FGM in Kenya’, I meet Alice Masinte at The Girl Generation conference. A conference that encouraged the youth to dialogue towards concerting effort to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Kenya.
Alice,25, third born in a family of ten (four girls and six boys), underwent the cut in 2002 while she was in class six.
“The pain was excruciating, they cut off everything,” she explains her ordeal during a brief interview with me. I can clearly see the pain in her eyes as she stops to talk for a minute and breaks down. This is heart wrenching…and immediately sends shudders through my veins. I can feel her pain.
She gathers courage and continues, “the procedure was so crude, I almost bled to death.”
Even before she had healed, her father was still at it. He had secretly received dowry payment and arranged that she marries an old man enough to be her fathers age.
This,she learnt from her mother who helped her to escape to a nearby catholic church.
She was enrolled at a local Catholic Missionary School and after intense counselling,now fully recovered she resumed her studies.
She became a pariah at home but concentrated on her studies. She performed well and was admitted to Egerton University where she pursued a diploma course in Agriculture and Extension.
Alice got a job as a Biology and Agriculture teacher in Kisumu at a girls school.
Now enjoying fruits of a learned professional, she joined hands with like minded village peers from Loitoktok and launched a campaign to fight FGM.
Network of Youths in Action (NOYA) was born bringing together 99 youth. She was elected as the founding chairlady as well as the key ambassador.
She quit her teaching job and now focuses on visiting local primary and secondary schools teaching girls on the effects of the cut while encouraging especially those who have undergone the cut that there is life after the experience.
She urges parents not to subject girls to the cut because it does not make them superior than those uncut. It only subjects them to pain and other adverse health complications.
NOYA has been working with morans under a program called Morans for Girl Child Education and Empowerement (M4GEE). They have successfully been able convince morans to lead in the fight to end FGM. They have also involved local leaders and even religious leaders in their dialogue.
She is grateful that her zeal has been able to save her youngest sister and a few other girls, since they have rightfully escaped the cut. She vows to save more girls.
Alice is Shrewd, I admire her courage and determination. I feel success in her struggle to end FGM.