The Guideline for Conducting an Alternative Rite of Passage

In July 2018 the Anti-FGM Board and the Kenyan ministry of public service, youth and gender affairs published a Guideline for Conducting an Alternative Rite of Passage. It aims to harmonize and improve the ARP implemented in Kenya by defining the procedure and offering some key advice to ensure the ARP’s success.

Firstly, the guide underlines the importance of engaging the community (1st guiding principle: ARP should be community-led) and adopting a culturally sensitive approach (3rd guiding principle: ARP should be culture-sensitive). In this way, the implementation of ARP must include the participation of community members from the beginning of the process. The guideline emphasizes that “training of ARP facilitators” and “stakeholder-mapping” are essential steps to take while organizing the ARP. The implementation as a whole should be designed around the community’s involvement, facilitating their participation, improving their safety and security. Furthermore, the implementation of ARP requires “a successful community entry where the guiding team introduces the concept to the gate-keepers, custodians of culture, or leaders of the community for buy-in”.

Secondly, the guideline focuses on the ceremony in which it is of course, necessary to involve most of the community. For instance, it is recommended to pay attention to the use of language and especially to use local languages. A steering team composed of community members is necessary in order to mobilize the whole community and lead activities conducted in parallel of the ARP: “A community-led ARP is a public confirmation by the practicing community that they are ready to
abandon FGM. In conducting the ARP process, it is important to have both boys and girls participate in the ceremony.” Some of the elements that are important for the ceremony are the use of symbols, the inclusion of tradition, a public declaration against FGM, blessings and awards for the girls.

Finally, a chapter of the guide is specifically dedicated to monitoring and evaluation, providing guidance on how to conduct M&E and suggesting templates to follow. This chapter emphasizes the importance of data collection, something that is currently lacking but necessary in order to evaluate ARP and to improve their success, quality and their capacity to be adapted to each community.

“The Community of Practice on Female Genital Mutilation” is part of the “Building Bridges between Africa and Europe to tackle FGM” project, supported by the “UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM”.
The project is coordinated by AIDOS in partnership with GAMS Belgium.

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