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.
Few studies have been conducted on alternative rites of passage. Some preliminary conclusions can be drawn from the existing ones. Recently, ARP has received some criticism, after having been completely unquestioned for years.
To emphasize the role of community participation for the success of ARPs, Bertine Pries from Amref underlined that within the past decade, 17,000 girls in the Maasai and Samburu communities have gone through the ARP program, which would not have been possible if cultural decision-makers and community gatekeepers had not taken ownership and leadership of the fight against FGM/C.
The Population Council implemented a comparative study on the alternative rites of passage (ARP) implemented in the Kuria and Kisii districts, Kenya. The report investigated some of the reasons for their failure. In the Kuria community, FGM is traditionally a public issue. The Council of Elders’ establishes the dates for the “cutting season”. FGM is publicly celebrated even if the public ceremonies are losing importance.
Amref Health Africa is an international NGO that has chosen to focus on the implementation of alternative rites of passage in order to fight against FGM. This approach is used in the integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene & ending FGM (ARPWASH) projects in Kilindi (Tanzania) and Kajiado (Kenya). Bertine Pries shared the NGOs experience with the Community of Practice.