Country: Kenya

Population: 45 million

Estimated prevalence among women aged 15-49:

27.1% & 3.4 million women cut (aged 15+)

Data Source DHS 08-09
15 – 49 (%) 27.1
15 - 19 (%) 14.6
45 - 49 (%) 48.8
Urban (%) 16.5
Rural (%) 30.6
Lowest Region (%) 0.8
Highest Region (%) 97.5
Nicked, no flesh removed (%) 2.3
Flesh removed (%) 82.7
Sewn closed (%) 13.4
Traditionally performed (%) 78.4
Medically performed (%) 19.7
National law Illegal

PRB 2014

Type practised:

The most widely practiced forms are Type I and Type IIType III is also practised in far eastern parts of the country along the border shared with Somalia.

The majority of girls are cut between the years of 12-18. However, trends are going towards a lower age average of 7-12 years.

Legal status:

In 1999, the National Plan of Action for Elimination of FGM (1999-2019) was implemented by the Ministry of Health. Since 2001, it has been an offence under the Children’s Act to practice FGC on girls under 18. Practitioners face 12 months imprisonment and/or a fine of fifty thousand shillings (US $600), which is currently under review. There has been very limited successful legal action against perpetrators.

The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act was enacted in 2011 and since then a national Anti-FGM board has been established. This is a semi-autonomous government agency tasked with coordinating regional and national efforts to accelerate an end to the practice.

History of FGC in Kenya:

Christian missionaries denounced FGC as barbaric in the 1930’s and banned the practice. However due to national and cultural support of the practice this had a limited impact. Jomo Kenyatta, the first president after independence, made FGC a powerful symbol of African Tradition and efforts of ending the practice were linked to imperialism. The decade of women (from 1976-1985) renewed the efforts to end FGC in Kenya, as senior government officials attended the conference. Abandonment of the practice began in the 1990’s.

Past and current efforts to eradicate FGC have included:

Interventions using a health risk approach and addressing health complications of FGC
Approaches addressing FGC as a harmful traditional practice
Educating traditional circumcisers and offering alternative income generation
The alternative rite of passage approach

Early efforts of abandonment focused on the health effects of FGC, leading to an increased rate of FGC medicalisation. The approach involving alternative rites of passage (ARP) has had more success in eliminating the practice in the long run; however research shows that it is not always an appropriate method and depends on the cultural context.

ARP was first attempted in 1996 among the Meru, where it was largely successful because the Meru practice FGC as part of a community ritual initiating girls into womanhood. ARP has had less success in communities where FGC is a private family affair with little or no public celebration.

Current efforts to abandon FGC:

The Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) of 2008 shows a significant decline of the practice of FGC in Kenya. There has been a continuous reduction of FGC since 1998, through employing a combination of the above approaches. As of 2012, only 20% of women and girls support the continuation of FGC in Kenya. This acceptance rate is accompanied by the decrease in prevalence in Kenya, which has gone from 49% (age 45-49) to 15% (ages 15-19).

The UN Joint Programme is active in Kenya. ECAW (the Education Centre for the Advancement of Women) works to advance the rights and empowerment of women in Kuria in South West Kenya. SAFE Maa work with the Maasai population in Loita Hills.

Ongoing challenges:

Progress is often hindered by practical difficulties such as mobilisation and obtaining research permits. Further problems are encountered in persuading local communities to engage in studies and programmes aimed at abandonment, due to past tendencies to ignore local cultures while forcing an exclusively Human Rights agenda. Misunderstandings of key terms such as ‘alternative rites of passage’ and ‘abandonment’ cause further complications locally and on an international level.

Maasai culture is patriarchal and women are valued for their roles as mothers and wives, with

Maasai women entirely financially dependent on their husbands. Once cut at age 12 or 13, girls often quickly marry, leave school and have children, limiting their own life opportunities.

Practising ethnic groups:

FGC is practised among 30 of Kenya’s 40 ethnic groups:

Somali 98%

Kisii 96%

Maasai 73%

Kalenjin 40%

Taita and Taveta 32%

Mercu/Embu 40%


Kiswahili (official)

English (official)

Numerous indigenous languages

Major religions:

Christian 82.5%

Islam 11.1%

Indigenous beliefs 1.6%

In the news:

Mediamax NetworkBe Bold For Change campaign against FGC leaded by a 39-year-old woman in Garissa county

Humanosphere - An organisation in northern, rural Kenya emphasizes girls’ and women’s empowerment, human rights and education as a means to end FGC

UN Women - Janet Anyango talks about breaking the culture of silence on FGC in Kenya

Church Times - “My girls will never, ever, undergo FGM. My daughters are my life, and I cannot do that. It is an injustice.” says pastor Emmanuel Longelech

Reuters - "They believe seven is a cursed number so they won't be cutting this year"

Standard Media - More than 300 elders from Samburu Central sub-county have pledged to lead their community in the fight against FGC

Standard Media - FGM by numbers in Kenya

Standard Media - "Why I no longer believe in FGM"

The Guardian - The elders speaking out against FGC, in pictures

BBC News - Hundreds of Kenyan girls are preparing to spend Christmas in schools, rather than with their families, fearing FGC

Daily Nation - Despite the decline in national FGC prevalence rates, prevalence remains high among some communities

Daily Nation - County official speaks out against FGC

The Star - FGC rise in West Pokot county despite the government partnering with NGOs to protect girls

The Guardian - ‘They speak against it by day and cut girls at night’

Xinhuanet - Leaders and members of the Samburu community embrace a safe alternative rite of passage to womanhood for girls and oppose FGC

Daily Nation - Girls escaping from home to avoid FGC or child marriage in West Pokot County

Capital News - Month long anti-FGC campaign kicks off in Kenya

News Deeply - Difficulties in tackling FGC in Kuria; money appears as the main motivation for continuing the practice

Mediamax Network - Big celebration in Maasai village for two girls' alternative rite of passage

All Africa - Tanzanian and Kenyan border police forces agreed to cooperate in the fight against FGC

Mediamax Network - Government launched the annual anti-gender discrimination campaign dabbed sixteen days of activism, that is aimed at creating awareness about the rights of the girl child

Trader Planet - Hindrances in fighting FGC in Kenya

The Week - Maasai warrior leader campaigns against FGC in his community

Capital FM - Time to step up against gender-based violence

Citizen Digital - Police controls increase in Migori County as the period when most young girls undergo FGC draws nearer

The Star - Anti-cut campaigns are bearing fruits according to Anti-FGC board chair Lina Kilimo

Standard Media - Anti-FGC law meets challenges in implementation

Mediamax Network - Anti-FGC activists call for vigilance in Narok

Mediamax Network - Anti-FGC campaign in Northern Kenya

Daily Nation - The Maasai cultural elders support for the alternate right of passage demonstrates change, the campaign to end FGC is promoting girls enrolling in school and curbing the spread of HIV

Voices of America - In Kenya there is growing support for new rites of passage, replacing FGC, where girls are given documents to signify their transition from girl to young woman

Daily News - In an interview with CDF executive director, Mr Koshuma Mtengeti, concerning Mara's anti-child marriage drive, he stated: "we are extremely happy that the campaign is going very well"

Citizen Digital - Elders in the Kuria community have criticised the Kenyan Government's efforts to eradicate FGC

Garissa News - Call for more sensitisation programmes to educate locals on the health risks associated with FGC

The Malibu Times - Deep Samburu Project established to help 22 women who live in extreme poverty due to HIV, AIDS, and FGC

All Africa - Kenya records 6% decline in FGC cases in last five years

Standard Media - Kenya receives African Gender Awards 2016 in Gender Mainstreaming for setting up measures to tackle CEFM, FGC, and other gender inequalitie

The Star - 50 women of Kamuthe in Nanighi ward, Garissa county, form group to educate community about negative impacts of FGC

Daily Record - DFID East Kilbride funds anti-FGC education for tribal warriers in Rift Valley

Mediamax Network - ActionAid Kenya's Safe Schools for Girls project increases enrollment by removing impediments like FGC to girls' access to education

All Africa - Embu Deputy Governor Dorothy Nditi raises alarm over high rates of FGC in region, church faithfuls also condone practice

Citizen Digital - Cana Children’s Rescue Center's anti-FGC advocacy pays off as more girls embrace education in Baringo County

The Star - Child marriage and FGC blamed for school dropouts

Hivisasa - Kisii men marrying outside due to high rate of FGC, claims Nyamira Women Representative Mrs Chae

Hivisasa - Director Young Women Democratic Empowerment programs Esnahs Nyaramba issues warning to private hospitals that practice FGC

Hivisasa - Kenya Anti-FGM Board chairperson Linah Kilimo believes the fight against female genital mutilation cannot be worn by without support from the public

Hivisasa - FGC does not add any value to girls, Kisii community told

Hivisasa - Kenya Anti-female Mutilation Board chairperson Linah Kilimo warns Nyamira County of two-year jail sentence for anyone found engaging in FGC

Hivisasa - Hon. Alice Chae leads hundres of county residents in educational road-show to sensitise residents of Nyamira county against FGC, co-hosted by national government

New Vision - EALA grants leave to Hon Dora Byamukama to introduce the East African Community Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill, 2016

Media Max Network - Leaders from West Pokot county call for affirmative action by the national government in the fight against FGC

Standard Digital - 'Education has made me who I am' Namelokai Sein Lengechu founded Keep Girls Safe Foundation in Kenya to empower Maasai communities to end FGC

SDE - A respected doctor has made comments about FGC, saying that orginially 'FGC was a good way to suppress a woman's libido, but that there is no longer a place for it in the modern world'

NCN - Two women table banking group to receive much needed additional funding, and can now can work towards the goal of ending FGC in Kenya

Citizen Digital - Women who was in prison for performing FGC, has since been released and claims 'that she now wants to become an anti-FGC ambassador to protect future generations'

All Africa - Women of Igembe, Meru County being blamed by Deputy County Commissioner for undermining anti-FGC campaigns, and encouraging or forcing girls to undergo the cut

MediaMax - One woman's experience escaping from the traditional practice of FGC, then advocating against the practice later in life

News Week - Alternative rite of passage ceremony emerges as a replacement for FGC

Standard Digital - Rev Timothy Njoya speaks out against FGC, claiming that 'A woman's clitoris should stay right where God put it'

EMTV - Senior UN officials urge world to eliminate FGC

UNFPA - Reaching the goal of ending FGC, child marriage, and son selection by 2030

Nyamira CN - Teachers called upon to help assist the government in bringing an end to FGC

Kiambu CN - Gender CS Sicily Kariuki stresses the need to engage the media about covering gender-based violence issues better

CBC News - Vanier College alumna and founder of the Pastoralist Child Foundation Sayydah Garrett tirelessly works to end FGC by educating girls in Kenya

News 24 -  Kenyan girl forced to undergo FGC by friend of her father, then raped by the same individual

Capital FM - FGC and other forms of gender based violence on the rise in Kenya

BBC - Maasai women using sports to help end FGC and gender inequality in their community

Citizen - FGC and child marriage are robbing children of their childhoods

Standard Digital - FGC not only affects sex for women, but can affect the experience for both parties involved

Daily News - Many touched after cut woman recounts her own experience with FGC

Click on Detroit - A compromise over FGC?

Standard Media - The painful knife and the cultural practice of FGC in Kenya

The Star - FGC cartels still prey on young schoolgirls, despite pressure from law enforcement

The Star - December FGC procedure leads to complications for a young girl

MediaMax - Baringo grannies decide to give up practice of FGC and will work to end FGC in their community

FOX - Ban Ki-Moon pleads with people to start using alternative rite of passage ceremonies in place of FGC

Standard Digital - Morans now defending girl's right to receive a proper education and be protected from FGC

All Africa - Education for women and girls in Kenya comes second to FGC

All Africa - 20% of girls under the age of five have already been subject to FGC in Kenya

UGC - Kenya currently winning battle against FGC

Elle - Sister Ephigenia Gachiri works tirelessly to end FGC in Kenya for good

TRF - Kenya leading global efforts to end FGC, but the fight is not over yet

Capital News - Saying "NO" to the old traditions and creating new ones for future generations

News FC - Views and attitudes on FGC are difficult to change

Standard Digital - Two women charged for FGC in West Pokot

Goats and Soda - Maasai Cricket Warriors seek to spread awareness and end FGC, reach London for their first championship

The Star - Politicians and church leaders urged to speak out against FGC

Standard Digital - Medics' licenses to be revoked after performing FGC

NCR - Girl find safe haven from FGC through her school

Standard Digital News - Mother punishes daughter after electing alternative rite of passage

Star - FGC has returned in Marakwet with a vengeance

BBC - Chesang Domtila, Kenyan anti-FGC activist, voted a long hero of Africa

Hivisasa - Nominated MCA Esther Mengere launches campaign in Naivasha seeking children who have undergone FGC

Hivisasa - Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Board chairperson Linah Jebii Kilimo has urged politicians to join the war against FGM

Citizen Digital - Mother arrested after forcing daughters to undergo FGC

Kisii County News - Kisii county Government suggests introducing sex education to schools in attempt to curb the practice of FGC

All Africa - Alternative rites of passage help to bring an end to FGC in Meru

Kisii County News - In the region of Nyamache, the coupling of Kenyan law criminalising FGC and awareness raising through education has helped to curb the practice

The Guardian - 'The only good woman is a cut woman' - follow Rebbie Sebei's story as she shares how she escaped the cut and works to save others

The Guardian - As the holiday period begins, so do the rite of passage ceremonies - school teachers are supporting young girls at risk of FGC

Reuters Africa - Maasai cricketers' heroic status enables increased ability to influence village elders on social issues from HIV awareness to promoting the abandonment of FGC

The Star - 'We trekked 200km for FGM in Uganda'

Standard Media -Former teacher fearlessly rescuing girls from female genital mutilation

CNN -FGM: Inside Kenya's illegal 'Cutting Room'

Kisii County News -Kilimo warns Kisii chiefs abetting FGC

Standard Digital - Four girls arrested for undergoing female genital mutilation in West Pokot

Capital News - Josephine Kulea fighting FGC a day at a time

Citizen TV - Majority of girls in Meru undergo FGC

Think Progress - Kenyan woman couldn't save herself from female genital cutting, but saved hundreds of others.

Star Africa – Pokot girls rescued from FGC and child marriage graduate

Standard Digital – Poor souls: Men, this is why your women outlive you

Times-Herald– Missionary to hike 100 miles to save Kenyan girls

Hivisasa - MCA: Change tactics to win war on FGC

Standard Digital – 1200 Kajiado girls transition to womanhood in alternative rite that shuns FGC

Daily Sabah – Kenya's women-only village shelters victims of violence

Capital FM – Will Kenya end female genital cutting?

AMREF Health Africa – Stop FGC!

Take Part – No Men Allowed: Go Inside the first all-women village in Kenya

AOL-  No boys allowed: this village in Africa is only for women

Daily Mail – Inside the Kenyan village where men are banned: Women living in Umoja say they will never go back to their husbands - despite violent threats and intimidation

All AfricaKenya: West Pokot leaders pledge to wage war against female cut

The Nairobian –  I survived a death curse by Samburu elders - Josephine Kulea

All Africa – Kenya: Balance of gender in schools

Daily Mail – 'They told me I wouldn't feel any pain': Teenager reveals how she was forced to undergo female genital mutilation as she was married off to man twice her age - before falling pregnant at just 12

KTN News – Josephine Kulea interview with Ian Wafula on FGC [Part 1]

Take Part – In Kenya, cricket players go to bat for women

Yahoo – Young male Maasai cricketers join England's top bowler to unite against HIV and FGC. Male Youth use their status in the community to spread a message against FGC

Media Max Network – Kenyan nurse and founder of Samburu Girls’s Foundation, Josephine Kulea has dedicated her life to saving young Samburu girls from FGM/C, after surviving the procedure herself

Express – Kenyan female elders explain their views on FGM/C – 'Circumcision is an important festival. It's a celebration like Christmas. It unites people. There is feasting and drinking and dancing.'

Huffington Post - UNFPA launched a global campaign with the Guardian to improve media coverage on FGC in Africa

AllAfrica- Kenyan girls are taken to Tanzania to be cut

AllAfrica- Women's Representative calls on Masai to end FGC

AllAfrica- Child Protection Group forms in Tarime

AllAfrica- Narok Chief aquitted in FGC case due to lack of evidence linking him to the crime

AllAfrica- Men involved in ending FGC in Tangi Tatu call for greater education of girls

AllAfrica-Traditional leaders meet in Tarime to discuss ending FGC

AllAfrica - Isiolo women leaders speak out against FGC

Seattle Globalist - Maasai participate in ceremonies as an alternative to FGC

Capital News - First Lady Margaret Kenyatta publicly calls for ending FGC and child marriage

AllAfrica- Anti-FGC board dissolved, money allocated to new anti-FGC projects

Standard Digital - Clerics in Narok promise to work with the government towards ending FGC

KTN - Seminar begins in Samburu to educate community on dangers of FGC

AllAfrica - Chairperson Kilimo cites data that 40% of FGC victims die during childbirth

Standard Digital - Women and authorities disagree on right to practice FGM in Sikawa

Standard Digital- 200 married women pressured into FGC

Religious News Service - Church Leaders grow concerned about rising medicalisation of FGC

Bexhill Observer - Maasai Chief visits childcare students at Bexhill College

Daily News - Elders in Kurya urged to back anti-FGC movement

The Times - Maasai women in Entasopia agree to end FGC

AllAfrica – FGM shelters threatened with attack

Standard Digital - 300 girls in Samburu march as protest to FGC

Citizen News - Anti-FGC Campaign Launched In Samburu

AllAfrica - Trans Mara police arrest FGC cutter

AllAfrica - 800 girls saved from FGC in Kuria

Citizen News - Five women arrested for conducting FGC

AllAfrica - Kenyan government pledges Sh100 million (£709,271) to help end FGC in the state

ABC - Kenyan schools send letters home to parents warning against carrying out FGC

AllAfrica - ECAW to train Kuria elders on the dangers of FGC

Guardian - Ban Ki Moon lands in Kenya to promote a Guardian-backed scheme to end FGC

The Nairobian - FGM and how the rich do it

AllAfrica - Five-Year-Old Girls in Bargoni Secretly Forced to Undergo FGC

The Counties - Traditional circumciser surrenders tools after minor's death in West Pokot

Thomas Reuters Foundation - Kenya launches FGC and child marriage hotline

The Star - 600 Kuria girls reject FGC before parents

AllAfrica - FGC Rescue centre for girls in Mwingi North

Reuters - Kenyan teenager bleeds to death giving birth days after FGC

New Internationalist - 'School can make girls into women, not FGM'

AllAfrica - FGC forces 10 year-old girls to flee home

AllAfrica - FGC and early marriages archaic, Says Konchella

The Guardian - Kenyan girls taken to remote regions to undergo FGC in secret

AllAfrica- 250 Kenyan girls say no to FGC

Women Deliver - Maasai lead way to ending FGC in Kenya

AllAfrica - Stop girls abuse, Obado tells Migori

AllAfrica - Women MPs tellmMen to fight FGC

AllAfrica - FGC ingrained in our cultures, says Waiguru

AllAfrica - Kilimo fights FGC

AllAfrica - Sh2 Million bond for couple in Kajiado FGC case

Capital FM - Local chiefs accused of abetting FGC

The Promota - Male relatives roped in as fight against FGC intensifies

Capital News - MP faces colleagues’ wrath for advocating FGC

Citizen News - Garissa residents warned of FGC malpractice

USA Today - Kenya fights custom of FGC

IPP media - Tarime elders prepare for FGC ritual, activists want it outlawed

Blog - Conversation with filmaker Beryl Magoko on FGC

FIGO - Kenya launches FGC bill

Standard News - Women leaders condemn group’s support of FGC

The Guardian - Kenya couple deny murder in FGC case

Standard Digital - Over 500 Maasai women protest FGC ban

All Africa - First lady says Kenya should eliminate FGC

All Africa - A new lease on life for Transmara girls

All Africa - Kilimo - how I Escaped FGC

All Afrida - FGC is illegal, why does it still happen?

The Star - Tobiko deploys anti-FGM unit to the counties

All Africa - Kenya in robust push to punish FGC perpetrators

FIGO - Catholic church in Kenya condemns FGC

Citizen News - 100 girls rescued from FGC

All Africa - Two to be charged with murder after Kenyan FGC victim dies

Newstime Africa - Deploring death of teenage Kenyan FGC victim

Capital News - Couple on murder charge after girl dies in FGC case

FIGO - Anti-FGM Board to step up law enforcement in Kenya

The Sunflower - Student seeks to empower change in Kenya, WSU

FIGO - Fear of intimidation 'undermines reporting of FGM in Kenya'

Standard Digital - County to create special wards for sexual violence victims

All Africa - Kuria girls resist FGC as prevalence falls

Capital Blog - How women in Kenya inspire change

The Star - 741 girls underwent FGC in Marigat last year

All Africa - Kilimo urges chiefs and  police to fight FGC

All Africa - Launch of new anti-FGC drive in Nairobi

Standard Digital - DPP cracks the whip on FGC cases

Standard Digital - Chiefs cite obstacles to anti-FGC drive

The Star - 10 victims of FGC rescued from early marriage

SOSChildren - Two thirds of Maasai girls still suffer genital mutilation in Kenya

The Guardian - Kenyan cutter says female genital mutilation is her livelihood

AllAfrica - Healthcare staff, facilities are now carrying out FGC

FIGO - Kenyan women's rights official condemns FGC

AllAfrica - Mothers urged to shun FGC

Standard Digital - Maasai now abandoning retrogressive rituals

Standard Digital - Why the harmful female 'cut' won't be eliminated soon in Kajiado

FIGO - New Kenyan anti-FGC position welcomed

Standard Media - County launches FGC awareness campaigns

AllAfrica - FGC Suspects Deny Charges

AllAfrica - Parents Arrested Over FGC in West Pokot

AllAfrica - MCAS Accuse Chiefs of FGC

AllAfrica - Priest Warns Kisii Parents Against FGC

AllAfrica - West Pokot Woman Charged Over FGC

FIGO - Parents in court over Kenyan FGC claims

Standard Media - Man charged for hosting FGC ceremony

Standard Media - Girls cross border to undergo FGC

Standard Media - Rescued FGC victims hospitalised

The Star - Bomet cops nab 2 women over FGC

AllAfrica - Mbeere mothers in court over daughters' FGC

AllAfrica - 200 girls undergo cut in West Pokot

FIGO - Kenyan women's rights group aims to tackle FGC

AllAfrica - Migori Told to Resist the FGC

AllAfrica - Persistence of FGC in Baringo and Pokot - More Effort Needed

FIGO - FGC instances drop in Kenya

AllAfrica - 2,000 at risk of FGC in Pokot, Marakwet

AllAfrica - MP Warns Pastoralist Communities Against FGC

Citizen News - War on FGC in Kuria

The Star - Anti-FGC group launched

Huffington Post: The African women who are turning their backs on FGC

The Star - Meru County, UK partner in bid to stop FGC

AllAfrica - Parents know little of FGC

The Star - Parents told not to put their daughters through FGC

Voice of America - Some Kenyan Families caught in middle of FGC debate

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics - Maasai Girls learning about the dangers of FGC

The Star - Our inconvenient truths

Daily Monitor – Female genital cutting must stop

TrustLaw - The Word on women – moves to ‘medicalise’ FGC jeopardise decades of work to eliminate the practice entirely

FIGO - 90 girls escape FGC in Kenyan districts

All Africa - DC Issues Alert On Secret FGC rituals

The Star – ‘Wanted’ Bomet FGC circumciser nabbed

IndieGoGo – Warriors (film)

The Star – Circumcisers head to Tanzania as new FGC law bites

Bulletin of the Oppression of Women – Four Kenyan girls hospitalized for FGC

hivisasa – Criminal law cannot stop FGC, but education can

news24 – Stopping FGC

Standard Media – Spirited fight against FGC makes girls flower in schools

  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Mail
  • Print