On June 12, 2014 in Enkorika, a village about 75 km from Kenya’s Nairobi, a group of women gathered around the village centre. They had assembled to voice opposition against a ban issued by their government.
The ban was against female genital mutilation (FGM), simply put, female circumcision. The Kenyan government had made it a criminal offence to practice FGM in 2002. But twelve years later, the practice still continues.
The women belong to a semi-nomadic community, the Maasai, which believes that uncircumcised girls are not fit to get married and it is immoral to be uncircumcised. They also believe that the practice brings honour to 'the circumcised' and makes her more eligible for marriage.
In most of the cases, the groom himself sponsors the circumcision.
According to the Maasai women, the ceremonial ritual accompanying FGM marks the coming of age of a girl, when she sheds the last vestiges of childhood and becomes a woman.
It is traditionally performed between the ages of 12 and 14 and is a part of the rites of passage for girls after which they are considered adults in their community.
Compiled by : Sanchita Sharma and Vignesh Radhakrishnan
Design by: Vignesh Radhakrishnan
(With AFP inputs)