More than 1,200 girls join colourful ritual in Kenya
The largest Alternative Rite of Passage ceremony is happening in Loitokitok in southern Kenya, near Mount Kilimanjaro.
More than 1,200 girls from Maasai communities are taking part in the Alternative Rite of Passage as a way to mark the transition from a girl to a woman. The public event replaces Female Genital Cutting, a practice that can have severe consequences for girls’ health.
Amref Health Africa has worked in partnership with Maasai communities, with support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery in the Netherlands, to create a ceremony to replace Female Genital Cutting. The key to the program’s success has been collaboration and dialogue with Maasai elders. In addition to the public ceremony, girls receive information on sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and human rights.
Cultural leaders and girls from various areas in Kenya and Tanzania are attending the ceremony. Bringing leaders and girls from different communities has been shown to be effective at reducing Female Genital Cutting, and bringing about lasting change.
To date, more than 7,000 girls have participated in an Alternative Rite of Passage in Kenya and Tanzania since the program started in 2009.
Read what Maasai girls, parents and leaders are saying about the Alternative Rite of Passage.