Circumcision with Words: An Alternative Rite of Passage

WGEP believes that in order to successfully combat the practice of FGM, solutions must address the cultural and social underpinnings of FGM on multiple levels.

With our partner organization Ntanira Na Mugambo Tharaka Women’s Welfare Project (TWWP), we have developed a community education program aimed at helping communities in Tharaka eradicate this harmful practice by working through these cultural and social issues.

Called Circumcision with Words, our program also seeks to weave together the themes of girls’ education, empowerment and the eradication of FGM in our awareness efforts and to offer families and communities alternate ways to celebrate a girl’s rite of passage into womanhood without genital cutting.

Circumcision with Words offers:

  • Community awareness workshops and events for parents and community members of both sexes to explore the harmful effects of FGM and early marriage
  • Outreach to village leaders and chiefs to encourage them to lead and support the efforts to eradicate FGM in their community
  • Curriculum on FGM awareness, women’s rights and the importance of girls’ education in ouradult literacy classes, health workshops and molding clubs for boys and girls
  • Promotion of the value of educating girlsand delaying marriage until after girls finish their education
  • Awareness workshops for girls age 12-17 and their families about FGM and the option of participating in our alternative rite of passage
  • An alternative rite of passage where girls are “secluded” for one week for empowerment workshops with their mothers and other female role models. At the end of the week, family and community members gather to celebrate the girls’ passage into adulthood. The girls perform uplifting songs and dances, and local leaders, especially women, give speeches. And, instead of genital cutting, a cake is cut to celebrate the girls entering womanhood!

Since being adopted by WGEP in 2007, the “Circumcision With Words” program has helped more than 1,100 girls and their families abandon the deeply entrenched cultural tradition of female genital mutilation.

April 17th, 2013