Global Media Campaign activists from various FGM practicing communities across Kenya commend the media on coverage of FGM stories. According to the activists, the extensive media coverage by both local and national media outlets (in print, radio, television) has finally given Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) a national attention, an attention that it deserves!
The youth activists together with various journalists across media houses earlier this week converged at The Horizon Resort, West Pokot, where they engaged in a dialogue to chart the next frame of action in combating Female Genital Mutilation.
The two day booster campaign was officially opened by the County Executive Commissioner Ms. Emily Chepoghiso. Ms. Chepoghiso thanked the activists and journalists for committing to end a form of violence that has staggered the socioeconomic growth of this country. She pledged her support in battling FGM and cattle rustling. “I will work closely with you to ensure that no girl is denied her basic human right in the name of culture,” Said Ms. Chepoghiso.
Also, speaking at the of two day booster campaign; Global Media campaign Regional Coordinator Ms. Domtila Chesang congratulated journalists on the increased reporting of FGM stories. In her remarks, she noted that the move has not only created awareness on the issue but also increased advocacy at the grassroots level. ‘Despite the constant challenges that we encounter in our work, we shall remain focused to the struggle to end this practice’ said the passionate Chesang.
Ms. Chesang, a recipient of the 2017 Young Queen leaders’ award by the Queen of England, acknowledged the role of both the local and national media in highlighting her work of eliminating FGM in West Pokot County.
The Global Media, Media Cordinator Diana Kendi who is also an award winning journalist for reportage of FGM stories has too been playing an important role of linking up journalists to the activists as well as identifying and refining content for feature stories, radio and television interviews. Diana committed to looping in as many journalists as possible citing that journalists have the power to bring about desired change in the society.
Campaigns’ Executive Director, Maggie O’kane who was also present at the booster campaign recognized the mutual relationship existing between journalists and activists. She noted that the relationship has helped to catalyze efforts undertaken by other actors including the civil societies, development partners, private sectors, and the government to accelerate abandonment of the practice.
Similar efforts have also been launched, under the banner of Global Media Campaign, across FGM practicing countries including The Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somali and Nigeria. In this regard, the campaign has also seen the release of two films; one featuring a global activist Jaha Dukureh- Jahas Promise which premiered this year in major cinemas worldwide and another one featuring a local activist Domtila Chesang and Beyond FGM UK- The Cut: Exploring FGM which aired during the first week of October 2017 on Aljazeera.
Currently, the activists are in early stages of engaging with religious leaders (priests and Imams) to come out and collectively speak against the practice.
About the Global Media Campaign #MediaToEndFGM
The Global Media Campaign (GMC) formerly The Guardian Global Media Campaign (GGMC) was officially launched in October 2014 under a joint funding strategy with UNFPA. Small grants were provided to journalists and news editors to help send journalists into remote areas to follow up on stories. Simultaneously, the dissemination of information regarding the health consequences of FGM and promoting the achievements of girls who had not been cut was set in motion, through offline materials and community radio presentations featuring respected local and religious leaders, and content translation into local dialects. By mid-2015, the GGMC had identified a number of young men and women working in isolation to challenge FGM. In September 2015, the GGMC ran a media-training academy (#EndFGMAcademy) in Nairobi, to which these activists were invited. They were given media training to empower them to collect and relay stories about the harms of FGM. The academy was opened by the then chairperson of the Kenya Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Board, Linah Jebii Kilimo.