By: Morgan Cassidy

Hi! My name is Morgan Cassidy and I am a 5th year BA/MAIA student at Pardee. I am a diplomacy track student and I minored in Arabic in my undergrad here at BU. I am interested in human rights and more specifically, women’s rights and access to education.


Female Genital Mutilation (hereafter, FGM) dates back centuries in African and Middle Eastern societies, and is often tied to cultural norms and practices. However, in recent decades the practice has made its way to the Western Hemisphere, including in the United States. The widespread practice is considered in African society a vital part of the initiation process of a girl into womanhood, as a girl’s mother and grandmother did for generations prior. With colonization of the African continent by European and Western societies came the Western understanding of culture, and the attempt to define African culture through the Western lens. This vital error has cost lives, the well-being of societies, and an incredible amount of racism and lack of understanding of African societies and their women. Even more relevant to the research topic at hand, Western definitions of culture applied to African cultures have resulted in the failure of eliminating FGM. The attention to FGM came at a time when Western societies were concerning themselves with the basic practices involved in cultural rituals in Africa, and attempts were made to “westernize” Africa. Christian missionaries were determined to proselytize the African people, and in order to do so, had to break down each cultural system in place. By causing divisions within African societies, for example between men and women, wealthy and poor, and rural and urban, Western colonizers attempted to break down African norms in order to rebuild in a Christian structure. This method of colonization was unsuccessful in eliminating FGM, as it blended it together with other cultural practices, rather than recognizing the dangers imposed on women during and after the procedure. Historically, FGM was a concern in Kenya because of its negative economic effects and impact on population growth. However, today FGM is recognized internationally as a threat to women’s human rights and is considered widely as a non-humane practice. The importance of eliminating FGM is now based in its health risks, both mentally and psychologically, and advocating to provide women with alternate means to complete their initiation process. The international community has worked to create programs, organizations, and councils on educating women on the real risks of FGM, and the opportunities to stray away from the procedure. Kenya’s government and community-lead organizations have taken a stark stance against FGM, and girls are provided with alternative means to become “initiated” as women, after nearly a century of attempts to ban the procedure.

Initiation Process/Abortion

The process of “initiation” in Kenyan culture represents the shift from girlhood to womanhood, and is led by community women. Initiation invites women into adulthood, and provides women with “new relationships of respect,” based on their age, gender, and socioeconomic class.[1] Initiation is considered sacred, and the process must be overseen by elders of the community and councils of women honored with the task of presiding over the excisions. While parents of the girl are responsible for deciding if and when she is circumcised, it is often based on the norms of the community. Ages range from 5 to 20 years depending on the specific Kenyan community; initiation takes place during preadolescence in Kisi and Kuria, and the teenage years in Nandi, Embu, Meru, Nyambene, Nyeri, Muranga, Samburu, and Garissa.[2] The initiation ritual in 1930s Kenya included ear piercings, tattoos, and celebrations. Women were ceremoniously bathed and taken to a field for the excision to be performed by the “mutani.”[3] A council of women would then preside over the clitoridectomy, singing and dancing in circles around the mutani and soon-to-be initiated woman. If the girl was already engaged, her fiancé would bring her into the field for the excision, and then prepare ointments and healing treatments for her to use after her procedure. Women would then parade back to the community, and take part in celebrations of the girl’s initiation into womanhood through eating, dancing, and partaking in other cultural customs to welcome the girl into her community as a woman. The family also celebrates, as the daughter’s initiation meant a step up in society and within the community.[4] According to tradition, “uninitiated” females could not bear children, thus, initiation was a vital step in a girl’s life and pre-sexual maturity in order to prevent having to get an abortion.[5]

If a girl were to become pregnant prior to initiation in 1930s Kenya, she would likely get an abortion or commit infanticide because the child would be considered a disgrace to the community and the woman would be ostracized for having a child pre-initiation. An uninitiated girl having a child was considered total taboo and thought of as a “child conceiving a child.”[6] The abortion process common in 1930s Kenya was horribly brutal and painful; the “boyfriend” of the girl would take her into the woods where she would be fed a combination of herbs that essentially poisoned her body into producing a heavy menstrual period. This process would be completed by putting a sharp object into her vagina and pressing hard on her abdomen.[7] This very physical practice could cause severe illness, infection, and even death of the mother. The process could also lead to infertility and was psychologically scarring for the woman due to her losing her child in an incredibly violent manner.

Background of Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) dates back centuries in Kenya as well as in other countries of Eastern Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Europe. Its roots are believed to have originated in Ethiopia and Egypt in the 5th century B.C.; it also has ancient roots in tropical zones of Africa and tribes of the Amazon.[8] FGM/C, which over 200 million girls have already undergone, refers to the procedure in which part or all of the external female genitalia is removed; other injury to female genitalia for non-medical reasons is also considered FGM/C.[9] The United Nations categorizes FGM/C under four types: clitoridectomy, excision, infibulation, and any other harmful procedure for non-medical reasons, for example “pricking, piercing, incising, scraping or cauterization.”[10] Type I, clitoridectomy, entails removing some or all of the clitoris or prepuce, and is the most common form of clitoridectomy in Kenya; type II, excision, is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora.[11] Type III, the most invasive method, is called infibulation and involves “narrowing of the vaginal orifice with a covering seal,” which is done by cutting and rearranging the labia minora and majora. When they are married women, they may be cut open by their husbands before sex on the first night of marriage, or before childbirth.[12] Infibulation is experienced by 10% of women who are affected by FGM/C, as most women are circumcised through clitoridectomy or excision.

FGM is historically a cultural tradition with no connections to any one religion. FGM began as an act of sacrifice to the gods in order to improve the relationship between gods and humans as well as to enhance the fertility of a woman.[13] The process was related to the sacred value of blood and the value of life and reproduction. Other rituals to increase fertility were also common, such as women inserting plant extract into their cervix or burning the abdomen of a young woman to become pregnant.[14] While these were dangerous for a woman’s health, they were equally parts of the indigenous cultural system of Kenya and other countries of Eastern Africa. An anonymous Kenyan woman describes the fear of “shame and dishonor” had she not arranged a clitoridectomy for her daughter, despite wishing to abolish it from her community herself.[15] This perfectly embodies the internal struggle of some women of Kenya today and within the past few decades; these women sacrifice their own beliefs of abolishing the procedure for the sake of their family’s reputation in the community. Women are fighting against something they despise, but are also aware of the risk that comes to their family if they do not continue the tradition themselves. It is compared to losing a son during a hunt; a horrible, devastating loss, however “worth it” for the sake of tradition. The fear of not being blessed by the gods and being ostracized by the community outweighs the fear of cutting.

FGM/C is supported by men and women in the communities it is practiced in and it contributes to gender inequality. In some cases, it is a prerequisite for marriage, and can lead to a rise in child marriage.[16] Though only recently the procedure adopted the implications of sexual control, virginity, and virtue, these more modern repercussions of the procedure note the control of the sexual organs of a woman for the sake of maintaining her purity and becoming a desirable wife and mother.

FGM/C is traditionally performed by a community member, whether an elder or a medical practitioner within the region. The procedure is often done using dangerous tools, such as razor blades, without anesthetic or antiseptics.[17] It is still regularly practiced in 29 countries in Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia, and parts of the Middle East.[18] The United Nations predicts that if the current rates continue, an estimated 68 million more girls will be cut between 2015 and 2030 around the world, primarily in Africa. Despite the traditional aspects of the procedure, the World Health Organization deems that it has no medical justification, and it leads to physical, psychological, and social consequences for years to come.

History of Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting in Kenya

The procedure of FGM/C has been practiced in Kenya for centuries, and at least 50% of Kenya’s female population had been circumcised by 1994.[19] The highest rate of FGM in Kenya is within the Kisii community, where a staggering 98% of women are circumcised.[20] Ondiek’s work, “The Persistence of Female Genital Mutilation and Its Impact on Women’s Access to Education and Empowerment: A Study of Kuria District, Nyanza Province, Kenya” notes the higher prevalence of FGM among women with lower education, and lower rates among educated women. The study also notes that there are higher rates of FGM in groups of older women versus younger; it is also more common in women who are homemakers or unemployed in comparison to employed women. These statistics all suggest that FGM/C is a fading practice, and that although it is still prevalent, education and employment are effective means of reform.

While FGM has ancient roots in Kenya, and a heavy cultural history based on sacrifice and divine relationships, it has also been used to control women and their sexual activities. 80% of girls indicate that other people, including mothers, grandmothers, and aunts, decide when and if a girl will be circumcised.[21] Girls are given no autonomy over their own bodies, despite the long term consequences of the procedure. The process removes pleasure from sex for the woman, actually making it very painful for women to have sex. The degree of pain during sexual activity is slightly dependent on the type of FGM that had been carried out, whether Type I, II, III, or IV, and thus is dependent on the extremity of the procedure. The procedure itself is extremely painful, and can result in horrific infection, illness, hemorrhaging, and death.[22] It is also linked to infertility and complications in delivery, resulting in danger to both the mother and the child. Traditional remedies are involved to help with the pain, including serums, herbal remedies, and ointments. However, the lack of antiseptic used during the procedure is extremely dangerous, and linked to the high likelihood of infection. The health and human rights of Kenyan women are not considered in the procedure, and the main priority was and continues to be on the cultural implications of the procedure and the benefits for the families’ of the circumcised girls.

Ondiek talks specifically about the negative effects of FGM on a girl’s education and empowerment in her study. She first points out that too little attention is given to the clear connection of the two, and that a girl’s inability to fulfull her education because of FGM proves the dire long-term consequences of the procedure.[23] Ondiek looks specifically at the Kuria women of Kenya, who have the highest rate of FGM/C among Kenyan communities today. Girls of Kuria do not return to school after circumcision, as they are considered women and are prepared for marriage and motherhood. The girl’s formal education is cut short, thus limiting her social development. Lack of social development leads to a lack of empowerment, as per the “Cultural Lag Theory.”[24] The two “elements of nonmaterial culture,” educational development of girls and the traditional belief of FGM, do not adhere to each other, and thus do not develop evenly in society.[25] This theory implies then that education will not be prioritized for young women and girls unless FGM is eradicated, resulting in girls being able to complete their education and thus social development.

Ondiek also notes the alleged reasoning for the continual practice of FGM in Kenya today. She discusses the argument that hygiene is a concern for uncircumcised women, as “female external genitalia are considered dirty and unsightly, and its removal promotes hygiene.”[26] She circles back to the procedure’s cultural relevance, and the argument for the importance of “maintaining social cohesion and recognition within the community.”[27] The arguably most upsetting belief is the connection to psychosexual reasons, and that clitoridectomies will reduce “female sexual desires, maintain chastity and virginity before marriage and fidelity during marriage, while increasing the male’s sexual pleasure.”[28] This is a clear example of the use of FGM to control and limit a woman’s sexuality, and the deeply rooted gender inequality that exists in FGM. FGM is also involved in the politics of Kenya, and is often used to criticize female politicians or the wives of male politicians. During the Mau Mau war of independence, it was used as a “symbol of cultural unity against colonialists and the Christians.[29] FGM is used as a tool to intimidate women in politics, and male politicians have threatened females with having them circumcised, as recently as the 1990s; males politicians have also deemed women unfit for roles in government due to being uncircumcised, and thus considered “children.”[30] Ondiek thus argues that FGM has roots and consequences alike in the economic, political, educational, cultural, and psychological spheres.

Implications of Colonization

The colonization of Kenya by the British Empire began in 1888 and lasted until 1963 when Kenya gained its independence.[31] During the 1920s and 1930s, colonizers began to concern themselves with the cultural norms of Kenyans, as they represented the British crown. Colonial officers had particular issue with the practices of FGM/C and abortion. The European officers intended to influence local African officials to regulate FGM/C and the timing of the process of initiation. The British government wanted to eradicate the practice fully, and yet also wanted to enforce earlier initiation for young girls to prevent abortions. The British believed that the high occurrence of abortions was connected to pre-initiated sex, since it was considered taboo to have a baby without first being initiated in Kenyan society. Because of this cultural norm, women would give themselves miscarriages or perform abortions to prevent humiliation and ostracization from the community. Colonial leaders were pressured by missionaries to eradicate abortion, for it is a sin in Christianity.[32] The desire of Colonial officers to eradicate FGM therefore had nothing to do with the well-being of women or girls, and rather was focused on pleasing Christian missionaries and the British Empire, and the economic success of Kenya. FGM was connected to low birth rates, population lag, and infant and maternal death, all consequences colonialists feared they could not afford. Colonialists were interested in Kenya for its economic resources and labor force, and FGM limited the effectiveness of both.[33]

The Colonial officers’ reform of FGM and abortions angered local Kenyans, and resulted in a political divide between the Kikuyu Central Association and the headmen campaigns; strengthening the pro-excision Kikuyu Central Association, and weakening the headmen with the opposite view.[34] The local Kenyans believed that the colonial power having a say in FGM practices and rituals “threatened the moral economy of fertility and sexuality” of Kenya.[35] They also believed that it was an unprecedented extension of the British empire, and especially male authority, into the female domain. It was very clear to the local population that colonialists were concerned with control of the Kenyan population, especially the women, as a means of getting to the core of the Kenyan government and society. Colonial officers formed groups to intervene in “women’s affairs,” essentially bombarding the process of initiation. The Colonial officers ripped apart the traditional initiation ceremony, destroying the process of the socialization of girls to women, and therefore taking away the power of the female elders of the community.[36]

Colonial officers considered abortion a “backwards condition,” and began enabling earlier initiations in Meru.[37] They argued that pre-marital sex, abortions, and late initiations were to blame for the “social and political problems” of Meru, and a medical officer was sent to Meru to ensure that earlier initations would begin.[38] In reality, Colonial officers of Kenya knew so little about the culture and people of Meru, and it is likely that they over exaggerated the statistics regarding abortions, and imagined much more than reality. Colonialists denounced clitoridectomies as “barbaric,” and worried about the political embarrassment that could result for the British Empire for having power over such a “backwards” colony.[39] Kenyans saw the colonialists’ attempts to control FGM and abortion as a means of “corrupting custom, seducing girls, and stealing land.”[40] It is likely that the colonialist attempts to eradicate FGM only emboldened local Kenyans to keep the practice alive for the sake of tradition.

Colonial officers instituted Local Native Councils (hereafter LNC) in 1925 to overlook the reform of clitoridectomies and regulate the procedures, which were not officially banned, but limited to exclude the “major forms.”[41] The LNCs endorsed a resolution that banned clitoridectomies without girls’ consent, and regulated the procedure so that it could only happen one time; in 1931, the Embu LNC banned clitoridectomies that removed the entire clitoris.[42] However, local Kenyans still complained that LNCs were doing too much with and for the colonial powers and not enough for the council members and the Kenyan population. Native Kenyans also complained that the entire subject of FGM is a “women’s affair, not a men’s,” and in 1940, women’s councils to teach and enforce proper practices of FGM was born.[43] In the 1930s and 1940s, local officers and police began to enforce “mass gathering excisions,” ‘kigwarie,’ in which all adolescent girls were excised in a large group gathered together in a building, with no notice.[44] This was a means to control women and girls, and remove the small bit of autonomy they had left. Colonial officers were likely aware of this practice, but looked the other way because in the end, it did accomplish their mission of increasing early initiations. There seems to have been an internal struggle for Colonial officers between fulfilling the moral obligation of banning FGM, and yet securing politcal control by allowing incision to be done earlier to dismantle the practice of abortion and remove more power from women. The solution for the conflict appears to be the Local Native Councils, as they provided a false narrative of autonomy, and made it appear as if the Colonial officers were working with the local Kenyans.

Current Climate of FGM in Kenya

Kenya is seen as the top regional champion in combatting FGM today. Female Genital Mutilation was outlawed in 2011, however the enforcement of the law is left to community leaders; this is where the legitimacy of the banning of FGM comes into question.[45] According to UNICEF, Kenya is stronger than any other Eastern or Southern African country in combatting FGM, and yet procedures and celebrations continue to occur around the country. UNICEF reports that 4 million women have undergone the procedure, whereas Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta argues that the figure is much higher, at 9.3 million. Here lies a major flaw with the involvement of international organizations in combatting FGM; an inherent inability to understand the culture of the country in which they are focused. UNICEF has a very different perspective of FGM in Kenya compared to the President, who has a more honest point of view. This is one of the many reasons why legitimate FGM reform must come from the inside of Kenya itself, led by powerful community leaders.

On 21 October 2020, 2,800 girls from the Kuria community of Kenya underwent FGM and afterwards paraded in the streets in celebration.[46] This was seen as a huge step backwards in the community’s efforts to eradicate FGM, and the government of Kenya was very frustrated, as the Kuria community has defied the presidential directive. Men of the Kuria waved machetes in the air during the parade, solidifying their defiance of the government and threatening any who opposed the initiation ceremony. Girls went to school after the processions, some even still bleeding, therefore persuading other girls to get FGM. Activists believe this is an attempt to legitmize FGM.[47]

Kenyan Advocacy to End FGM/C

Sarah Tenoi is a Kenyan activist from the Maasai community in the Loita Hills of South West Kenya. In her community, girls were circumcised when they began menstruating. Her procedure occurred when she was 13, and involved the removal of her clitoris, labia minora, and partial removal of her labia majora.[48] She describes the procedure as “horribly painful,” and that absolutely “nothing could have prepared [her] for the pain.” Tenoi recalls bleeding so much that she thought she was going to die, and a horrible infection resulted from the procedure. Tenoi does not blame her parents for having her circumcised, as she understands the cultural implications of the procedure and the ability for economic growth for a family if their daughter is circumcised. Christine Ghati of Kenya notes this pattern as well; she is from the Kuria community of Kenya, and almost underwent FGC without her family’s approval for the economic benefits. She saw girls getting the procedure and receiving gifts, and after her father’s death, thought it was a feasible solution to help her family’s dire economic situation. Fortunately, Ghati’s mother refused, and raised her daughter to become an activist fighting FGM/C. Ghati works to raise awareness of what she believes to be the leading cause of FGM/C: poverty.

Ghati started the organization, “Safe Engage Foundation,” and works to educate girls on the risks of FGM. She has rescued over 100 girls from the procedure, placing them in “safe houses” where they can find support and safety from family who enforce FGM.

Sarah Tenoi works as a project manager for an organization called “Safe Kenya.” She educates girls, boys, women and men alike on the dangers of FGM, detailing the effects of the procedure on women’s health and the community. Tenoi explains that she is only attempting to change one part of the Maasai culture, and is still proud to be a Maasai woman. She uses her position in the community to connect with her people as a neighbor, sister, mother, and friend; people in the community are more likely to trust her, as she “comes in a proper way, in [their] own language- she is one of [them] and would not trick [them].”[49] Tenoi understands the need to connect with her people in a way in which they are already familiar; she performs traditional Maasai songs with messages about ending FGC.

The youth of Kenya are also fighting against FGM/C and child marriage through the organization, “Adventure Youth Group” of Bungoma county, Kenya. These youth activists have organized marathons and fundraisers to raise awareness of FGM, and work particularly to involve men.[50] The organization “Girl Generation” and an anti-FGM board have been launched to educate men and boys on the procedure and to involve the entire community in fighting FGM.[51]

Alternative Rites of Passage

As noted above, during the colonization period in Kenya, Colonial officers were much more concerned with the effects of FGM on fertility and low population growth than the effects on a woman’s health. Because of this concern for only the economic harm of FGM, the missionaries and Colonial officers failed to reform FGM, and their attempts from 1928 to 1931 were seen as an attack on African traditions.[52] Hughes discusses in his work, “Alternative Rites of Passage: Faith, rights, and performance in FGM/C abandonment campaign in Kenya,” the importance of initiation in Kenyan society and its ability to raise an entire family’s social class. However, Hughes discusses the possibility of initiation without FGM or any cutting. Hughes discusses the need to respect the human rights of women: “life, health, education, protection,” while also protecting the cultural rights of the Kenyan people. The ritual of initiation of a girl into womanhood can remain, and should remain, but safer options are available and necessary.

Sarah Tenoi has created an alternative rite of passage through her organization, in which girls still experience the elements of the traditional ceremony, minus the cutting. The girl’s head is shaved, she is given a bracelet that signifies her graduation from girl to woman, but instead of being cut, milk is poured on her thighs.[53] After her initiation, she reappears wearing the traditional headdress that signifies her transition, and is celebrated by her community members. This method of ARP is popular because it was developed within the community itself, so it is not perceived as a threat to the Maasai culture. As of 2020, Tenoi believes that 20% of girls in Kenya are receiving the alternative rite, and this number will continue to rise as more girls and boys are educated on the reality of FGM. Male warriors have gotten involved as well, teaching new warriors about the dangers of FGM/C for girls, and encouraging the boys to say publicly that they would marry an uncut girl.[54] This is vital, as a pressing concern for community leaders and parents is that girls will not find husbands if they are not circumcised.

International Response

The United Nations has declared February 6 International Zero Tolerance Day for Female Genital Mutilation, and calls on countries and organizations around the world to use this day to educate people on the risks of FGM for women and girls.[55] The UN sees FGM as a means of controlling women, preventing them from having sex with anyone but their husbands, and preventing extramarital relationships. The UN has called to eliminate the procedure by 2030, and estimates that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to FGM, and every year more than 3 million girls between infancy and age 15 are at risk of being subjected to FGM.[56] The UN calls for “collective abandonment,” urging communities to come together as one to ban the procedure.[57] Through a Joint Programme on FGM, the UNFPA and UNICEF have helped over 3 million girls and women receive FGM related care services. [58]


Female Genital Mutilation dates back centuries, and has been practiced widely around the world, though primarily in Africa and countries of the Middle East. The colonization of Kenya only emboldened Kenyans to continue the practice, in order to unite under FGM for its cultural relevance and stand against the colonial powers. Kenya deemed the practice illegal in 2011, however the enforcement of the law is left up to individual communities. There are a myriad of negative consequences to the procedure for women psychologically, emotionally, physically, and even economically. Health risks include infertility, hemorrhaging, and even death. A girl’s social development is also largely stunted, as it is unlikely that a Kenyan girl returns to school after FGM, because she is considered a woman and prepared for life as a wife and mother. The international community has fought hard to end FGM, and to raise awareness of the risks of the procedure. However, it is the work done by regional and community leaders that has proven most effective. Women of Kenya do not want outsiders coming into their community to enforce foreign law; this is far too reminiscent of colonization. It is the efforts of local women like Christina Ghati and Sarah Tenoi who are changing the cultural norms of Kenya, and enabling reform in their own communities. By encouraging alternative rites of passage, Tenoi recognizes the cultural importance of initiation, but argues that it can be done in a much safer way for women and girls. Community engagement in Kenya is completely changing the narrative of Female Genital Mutilation, and by providing resources for girls, boys, women and men alike, community leaders are reaching everyone in their community. Coming from communities where FGM is the norm, Tenoi and Ghati understand the importance of the initiation process, and have dedicated their lives to ensuring cultural traditions are respected, along with women’s rights.

[1] Lynn M. Thomas, “Imperial Concerns and ‘Women’s Affairs’: State Efforts to Regulate Clitoridectomy and Eradicate Abortion in Meru, Kenya, c. 1910-1950,” The Journal of African History, vol. 39, no. 1 (1998): pp. 121–145, doi:3/11/2010.

[2] Aoko Concellia Ondiek, The Persistence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and its Impact on Women’s Access to Education and Empowerment: A Study of Kuria District, Nyanza Province, Kenya, 2010.

[3] Lynn M. Thomas, “Imperial Concerns and ‘Women’s Affairs.’”

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] United Nations, “Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know about Female Genital Mutilation.” United Nations Population Fund, Feb. 5, 2019,

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Sada Mire, “We Won’t Eradicate FGM If We Keep Misunderstanding Its History,” The Guardian, March 9, 2020,

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] United Nations, “Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know about Female Genital Mutilation.”

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Aoko Concellia Ondiek, The Persistence of Female Genital Mutilation.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] “UN Calls for Ending Female Genital Mutilation by 2030,” Voice of America,

[23] Aoko Concellia Ondiek, The Persistence of Female Genital Mutilation.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] “The Colonization of Kenya,” Black History Month, June 29, 2020,

[32] Lynn M. Thomas, “Imperial Concerns and ‘Women’s Affairs.’”

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Sada Mire, “We Won’t Eradicate FGM If We Keep Misunderstanding Its History.”

[47] Ibid.

[48] Sarah Tenoi, “An Alternative to Female Genital Mutilation That Prevents Girls Suffering,” The Guardian, Feb. 6, 2014,

[49] Ibid.

[50] Sada Mire, “We Won’t Eradicate FGM If We Keep Misunderstanding Its History.”

[51] Ibid.

[52] Lotte Hughes, “Alternative Rites of Passage: Faith, rights, and performance in FGM/C abandonment campaigns in Kenya,” African Studies, 77:2 (2018): 274-292, DOI: 10.1080/00020184.2018.1452860.

[53] Sarah Tenoi, “An Alternative to Female Genital Mutilation.”

[54] Ibid, Tenoi

[55] Ibid, Voice of America

[56] Ibid, Voice of America

[57] Ibid, Voice of America

[58] United Nations, “Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know about Female Genital Mutilation.”