Sister Francisca Nzilani rose and drew the curtains of her modest office at Suguta Mar Mar trading centre. She peeped through the widow and saw a group of girls shut the premises gate behind them.
A 14-year-old girl Nasiiku Lororua dashed into the compound as other girls provided cover from behind. “This centre at times turns into a battle field. Relatives send morans or motor bike operators to spy on girls suspected to be here.
They are then abducted,” explains Sister Nzilani after enquiring what was happening outside. She narrates the story of Sophie, 15, who was abducted, circumcised and later married off to a 50-year-old. She could not defy the elders.
Sister Nzilani is the director of Immaculate Girls Rescue Centre which is some 40 kilometres from Maralal town, Samburu county. It was 11 years ago when the first girl landed to escape home for fear of being forcibly circumcised.
The two girls from Samburu are among many more who have been subjected to the vile practice as the world marked the day against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) yesterday. Meanwhile, a United Nations agency has warned that about 68 million girls face female genital mutilation between 2015 and 2030.
The latest findings of a research carried out by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says at least 3.9 million girls are subjected to FGM each year The UN body’s says this figure is expected to 4.6 million by 2030, unless massively scaled-up efforts are taken urgently to prevent that from happening.
The increase is due to projected population growth in communities that More than 200 million women live with female genital mutilation today. “The new figures show just how far we have to go to eliminate female genital mutilation,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem.
“The good news is we know what works. Greater political will, community engagement, and targeted investments are changing social norms, practices and lives. We need to quickly step up these efforts to Make good on our collective pledge to end female genital mutilation by 2030.”