How One Father is Taking a Stand Against FGM

When one of our local church partners in Kenya ran a workshop for caregivers outlining the dangers and harm of FGM, one father decided it was time to take a stand.

The life-long harm of FGM

The setting sun casts a warm glow through the windows of Joseph’s house in central Kenya. Inside, he sits on the floor, playing with his young daughter. Joseph knows that female genital mutilation (FGM) is still widely practiced in his Maasai community, putting young girls like his daughter at risk. He’s determined to do everything in his power to protect her and other girls.

Whilst FGM is officially recognised as a violence against women and girls, and a violation of their human rights, it’s still practised by a significant proportion of Kenyan societies. UNICEF estimates that 1 in 5 women and girls have been subjected to FGM. As the WHO asserts, FGM provides no health benefits, only harm, causing immediate complications in the form of pain, injury and infections, as well as long-term physical and psychological damage.

Our duty to protect children

Joseph walking with daughterIn 2021, Compassion’s church partner where Joseph’s son is a participant, offered child protection training about FGM. “As a church, we chose to train caregivers because FGM is a pertinent child protection issue in our community,” says Emma, a Compassion project staff member. “We have a mandate as Christians to protect our children by challenging the FGM culture.”

The church helped caregivers understand the extent of the physical and emotional toll the practice takes on young girls.

“The training was an eye-opener, and it stopped making sense to me why girls must endure this suffering,” says Joseph. “I started seeing it as a bad practice and sympathised with what girls in our community have been going through.

“I decided that the world is going forward, and we can’t get stuck in cultural practices that harm children—but it was a hard decision because of the reaction I faced,” says Joseph.

Taking a stand against outdated traditions

Joseph standing near his houseJoseph has his wife’s full support, and his determination to protect their daughters fills her heart with hope. “I am happy that my husband is an anti-FGM advocate,” says Naitoti. “My generation got FGM, and I have never seen its value. It would have been difficult for me to stand against the practice if my husband wasn’t supportive,” she says. “I encourage him to keep up the fight.”

With the support of his local church and Compassion, Joseph has become an advocate against FGM in his community. He shares what he’s learned with other fathers and encourages them to protect their daughters.

“I told the elders that the meaning of FGM has long gone—it is nothing but harmful,” says Joseph. He hopes that as he continues to engage the elders, they will see the benefit of creating safe spaces for young girls to grow and thrive without fear of harm.

“I’ll be able to say I’ve saved some girls,” says Joseph. “I hope they’ll say, ‘were it not for this old man, we’d be victims of FGM.’”

How you can take a stand against FGM

Joseph and his daughterTogether, we can provide relevant child-protection information for caregivers and equip advocates like Joseph as they take a stand against FGM. When a girl is sponsored, she’s given the chance to stay in education, to learn vocational skills, and to grow healthily in body, mind and spirit. When you sponsor a girl, you empower her family to overcome the barriers of poverty and allow their daughter a future with greater opportunity and choice.

Sponsor a Child Today


Ways you can pray for the fight against FGM

  • Pray for Joseph who is working against this well-established cultural practice of FGM—pray he’d have the strength to keep advocating for a change in attitude within his community.
  • Pray for campaigners in every country where FGM is practiced (this includes the UK) asking God to help them communicate compellingly so cultures would turn away from harming girls.
  • Pray for governments to uphold laws that protect the rights of girls and women.
  • Pray for girls and women to have access to help when they need it. Pray that girls would be well-informed about what to do when they’re in danger.
  • Pray for women and girls who have been harmed by the violence of FGM. Pray that God would give them comfort and healing from trauma.
  • Pray that Compassion’s church partners would be able to show Christ’s love so that women and girls understand their intrinsic worth and know how much God loves them.
Kevin Ouma

Words by Kevin Ouma, Zannah Kearns


Twitter Facebook

More stories for you

Homepage Banner

Join thousands of people praying to end poverty, take action through our appeals and activities, and be inspired by how God is changing lives.

Get a little Compassion in your inbox with our Prayer and Stories email.

Remember, you can unsubscribe at any time. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.

Compassion UK Christian Child Development, registered charity in England and Wales (1077216) and Scotland (SC045059). A company limited by guarantee, Registered in England and Wales company number 03719092. Registered address: Compassion House, Barley Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 2UT.