Help the Tasaru Ntonomok Initiative in Kenya protect young girls from the dangerous practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).
Although FGM is illegal in Kenya, it is widely practiced within the Maasai community as a rite of passage for women. The age at which the procedure is undertaken depends on the community, but it is often undergone by girls before they reach the age of ten. FGM allows for the practice of early child marriage (ECM), which leads to girls finding their education prematurely cut short. Often they  reach just 6th grade of primary school.  Educating Maasai girls of their rights is vital, as the tradition of dowry continues to contribute to the view of women as "personal property". For poverty-stricken families, the dowry can be seen as a potential source of income, furthering the pressure for marriage at such an early stage. As such, young girls are forced to undertake FGM to 'ready' them for marriage. But the dangers associated with FGM are great; increasing the spread of HIV and STDs, and causing extreme labour pains or death during child birth amongst many other dangerous associated risks.

The Tasaru Ntonomok Initiative (TNI) is a community-based organisation in the Narok district of Kenya. The organisation aims to create awareness and educate the community on the effects and dangers of FGM, and to empower women to defend their rights and reject harmful cultural practices. In 2002, TNI started a shelter to provide some form of safety net for the girls who run away from FGM and ECM. It ensures that they are protected from further harassment, that their rights and integrity are respected, and that they continue to study at schools which are guarded and far away from their family home. They also offer a non-harmful Alternative Rite of Passage, which teaches young girls about being a woman, including reproductive health and gender equality. TNI believe education is essential to empowering Maasai girls, and wish to fulfil this aspect of the girls' care whilst they require protection and mediation with their families. The centre is also saving to erect windmill water pumps to provide clean water to the surrounding community, in which women must currently travel extraordinary distances to fetch water which is unclean and causes the spread of disease.

TNI needs your help to raise awareness amongst the communities about the dangers of FGM and masaichildrenECM, to pay for tuition and accommodation for the brave girls who seek protection at the shelter, and to build water pumps to help Maasai communities to live healthily and productively.

With your donation, the girls at TNI are less likely to contract HIV and AIDS; they are less likely to contract infections and even die because of the mutilation; they will be protected from the trauma of undergoing the mutilation and they will become empowered to trust their own decision-making and defend their rights in the future.

 

  • For only £15 one Maasai girl or woman can be educated about the dangers of FGM and learn how to defend her rights through awareness-raising activities and workshops.
  • Just £33 provides clothing and personal care items for one girl for a whole school year.
  • For under £400 one Maasai girl can be protected, sheltered, fed, counselled and receive schooling for a whole year.
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