How Janet saved her 14-year-old cousin from FGM in Kenya

Janet and Elizabeth FGM
Janet with her 14-year-old cousin Elizabeth. Photo: Facebook/UKinKenya

For International Women’s Day, the UK High Commission’s Facebook page has highlighted the story of 23-year-old Janet who works for the Pastoralist Child Foundation (PCF) which is supported by UK aid via the UN Joint Programme.

Last year she bravely intervened to rescue her 14-year-old cousin, Elizabeth, from undergoing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

“I heard that Elizabeth was going to be circumcised,” she explained.

“I went and talked to my aunt and said ‘Please don’t circumcise Elizabeth — there are only disadvantages’. She refused. So at night, I took Elizabeth and we went to Nairobi. We stayed there for three months.

“The relationship between Elizabeth and her mum has got better now. I feel extremely happy knowing that I’ve helped Elizabeth avoid FGM.

“When a girl speaks out to other girls about FGM she can explain more than anybody. Girls who are the same age, who are friends, can speak better than a teacher. A girl is more powerful than anyone else.”

PCF aims to end FGM and child marriage in Kenya through community action and education. It’s managed by young, educated women and men and respected Samburu warriors.