The Female Genital Cut (FGC) is a widespread practice in a significant number of communities in Kenya such as Somali (97%), Kisii (96%), Kuria (96%) and the Maasai (93%), but relatively low among the Kikuyu, Kamba and Turkana. The practice is associated with short-term and long-term health effects including pain, bleeding, infections, and in extreme cases, death of the initiates. This study focused on socio-cultural factors influencing the practice of FGC among the Maasai community and adopted a cross-sectional research design, which employed a mixed method approach to generate both quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data was obtained from a randomly selected sample of 200 respondents, while quantitative data was generated from Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) as well as key informants (KI) interviews. The study found out that the Maasai (71% of the respondents) considered FGC as a cultural right whose main value is a rite of passage from girlhood to womanhood, enhancing marriage-ability, and acted as a rite of passage to adulthood. FGC was also considered as a traditional demand, enhanced easy childbirth, and reduced promiscuity among girls and women in the Maasai community. The authors conclude that FGC continues to persist in the Maasai community despite various effort put to eradicate it by different stakeholders. This is because of socio-cultural issues associated with it, which by far outweighs other risks associated with the 'cut'. For intervention programmes to succeed, the authors recommend that efforts should focus on targeting custodians of culture among the Maasai community who are largely the elderly women. This will create an opportunity for change agents to device appropriate strategies to curb the practice in the Maasai community. The devised strategies will inform various Anti-FGC interventions not only in the Maasai community, but also among other practicing communities in Kenya.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cut (FGM/C) has been a common practice in both developed and in developing countries like Kenya. Kajiado County in Kenya is one of the areas where the practice is highly practiced with girls of below 13 years undergoing through the 'cut'. This practice is however, a criminal offence as outlined in Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2011, though it continues to thrive in various parts of the country such as in Narok, Migori, Kisii, and to a larger extent Kajiado County. This paper is an outcome of a study that was conducted in Kajiado Central Sub-County in Kenya and examined the challenges facing effective implementation of FGM Act of 2011. The focus on Kajiado Central Sub-County was based on the fact that the county as a whole is largely inhabited by the Maasai community whose FGM/C practice according to the Kenya Demographic and Health Surveys (KDHS) stands at 93 percent. The research on which this paper was drawn adopted a cross sectional research design that employed various methods of data collection. Data was collected by use of research instruments such as semi-structured interview schedule and interview guide for Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with traditional circumcisers, manyatta elders, traditional religious leaders, public health officers, public administrative officers and sampled men and women with at least five children in the study area. The study found that despite the practice of FGM/C being criminalized with hefty penalties in Kenya, the practice is still widespread in Kajiado County. The findings of the study revealed that the implementation of FGM Act 2011 in Kajiado County has been constrained by a number of factors such as deeply ingrained culture and traditional practices, ignorance of the legislation and the consequences of FGM/C, ingrained traditional religious beliefs and superstition, reluctance by law enforcement officers in implementing the Act, as well as high poverty levels in the Sub-County. Based on the findings of the study, this paper recommends that efforts to eliminate FGM/C should not only be backed up by strictly enforcing legislative provisions by the county and national governments, but also incorporating both old women and men who are the custodians of culture. At the same time, the stakeholders should initiate advocacy and education programmes to help change the culture holders' mind sets, for instance, through the local mass media. Additionally, there is need to initiate alternative sources of income for traditional circumcisers who depend on the practice as a source of livelihood. Finally, school curriculum at all levels of education should incorporate themes such as female genital mutilation/cut and its effects on the life of a girl child and women.
Despite their fundamental socio-economic responsibilities, rural women still have less access to knowledge, assets, services and participation in decision-making. These inequalities affect their ability to carry out critical roles in their communities leading to rural poverty. In Kenya, women groups form the majority of local initiatives. Although women groups are the solution to the local problems, there is little support they receive from the government and other development stakeholders, hence their inability to address rural problems. Besides, there are limited studies particularly in Kenya on women groups' contribution to rural development. This paper is a portion of the outcome of an empirical descriptive study conducted in Nyamusi Division in Nyamira County by the authors. The sample was drawn from ten registered women groups and fifteen informal women groups in the study area. The unit of analysis was a women group. This paper critically examines the relationship that exist between rural community-based approaches (in this case-women groups) and rural development. It also looks at the barriers that hamper women's development efforts in community interventions. This paper concludes that if given opportunity, women have the potential to change their own socio-economic status as well as that of the communities in which they live in for the reason that women groups act as an effective instrument for rural development. Once women groups have sufficient solidarity, experience and unity of purpose in their undertakings, rural development is achieved. This paper recommends policy frameworks that not only promote community-based approaches for rural development, but also encourage sustainability and equal participation of all genders in development.
The use of psychoactive substances among street children for survival has been a prevalent problem in most urban centres in Kenya. Eldoret Municipality is one of the regions that has been affected by generally high numbers of street children who in particular capitalize on the use of psychoactive substances to survive on the streets. This paper is an outcome of a study that was conducted in Eldoret Municipality and partly examined the patterns and dynamics of psychoactive substance use among street children in the Municipality. The focus on the Municipality was based on the fact that it is a politically hot spot town and has an ever growing number of street children. This is largely attributed to factors such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, tribal clashes and/or wars, emergence and expansion of low income estates (slums). The research on which this paper draws adopted an ethnographic design commonly used in studies dealing with network analysis or organizational structures. Data was collected by means of semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with street children and service providers. The study found that glue sniffing and use of other substances like, bhang (Marijuana), alcohol (local brew), smoking and chewing tobacco were most used by the street children and hence, thwarting efforts of rehabilitation and reintegration of street children with their families and/or caregivers. From the findings of the study, there has been little achievement in rehabilitation and reintegration of street children with their families particularly those addicted to various psychoactive substance abuse. This paper concludes that the principal barrier to prevention of psychoactive substance use has been the failure by the government and street children agencies to implement an all-inclusive and sustainable strategy for street children's rehabilitation and reintegration. The authors recommend that the government, health service providers and street children agencies should adopt a holistic health and rehabilitation approach for street children population. This shall lead to eventual removal of street children from the streets not only in Eldoret Municipality, but also in all urban centres in the country.