Samburu and Marsabit Counties in Kenya are home to several pastoralist tribes, among them the Samburu, the Borana, the Rendille and the Gabra. These tribes are distinct in language and customs, but one similarity they share is that they continue to practice Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) and Child, Early and Forced Marriages (CEFM) despite Kenyan laws outlawing both in 2001.
An average of 86% of women across these tribes underwent FGM/C and 70% were married before they were 18. Each tribe is led by elders who make the decisions for the rest of their community and play a crucial role in maintaining these harmful practices.
The practices are linked; when a girl (typically between 8-15 years old) undergoes FGM/C, she is considered ready to be married off, often to a much older man and is expected to drop out of school once she is married.
Through funding from USAID and our donors, we created Koota Injena — which translates to “Come let us talk” in the Borana language — where we promote the use of community dialogues to end FGM/C and CEFM in 40 communities who identify as Samburu, Borana, Rendille and Gabra in Samburu County and Marsabit County.