Neelie Kroes, a member of the Amref Flying Doctors Recommendation Committee, recently visited a programme of the Yes I Do Alliance in Kenya. In this alliance, Rutgers, Plan, Amref Flying Doctors, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality and KIT Royal Tropical Institute work together to tackle girls’ circumcision, child marriages and teenage pregnancies in Africa and Asia.
Neelie Kroes attended a special event in Suswa: Amref Flying Doctors ‘alternative ritual for girls’ circumcision. 500 girls celebrated their passage to adulthood in a festive way without a painful and unhealthy circumcision. Amref has developed this alternative ritual together with the nomadic communities in Kenya and Tanzania, and as part of the Yes I do programme it is now being rolled out in other regions. All important cultural aspects of the three-day festive ritual have been retained, but the girls’ circumcision itself has been abolished.
Girls who have not been circumcised finish their school and marry later.
Massive school dropout
In Kenya 1 in 4 girls marries before 18 years old. Research has shown that in a number of parts of Kenya there is a strong relationship between female circumcision and child marriage. Circumcision marks the transition from being a girl to becoming a woman, so as soon as the circumcision has taken place, girls – from seven to fifteen years – will be married off. This marrying young leads to massive school dropout and teenage pregnancies. Neelie Kroes is committed to completely eliminate girls’ circumcision.
About Yes I Do project
Rutgers, Plan, Amref Flying Doctors, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality and KIT Royal Tropical Institute work together in the Yes I Do Alliance to tackle female genital circumcision, child marriages, and teenage pregnancies. This is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Pakistan and Indonesia over 2016-2020.
KIT Royal Tropical Institute is the knowledge partner for this alliance. KIT is using mixed methods to support the consortium with base, mid and end line along with operational research. KIT is also coordinating the monitoring and evaluation component of the programmes. The activities are on-going across the 5 years of the programme.