Practice of Female Genital Mutilation among Women of Reproductive Age in Kajiado County, Kenya
Kathurima, Elias Muguna
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Although Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Kenya is outlawed and there are strict legislations that prohibit it, some communities still practice it. This is attributed to ethnic and cultural diversity across the ethnic groups who use it as a rite of passage. This research‘s aim was to investigate the female genital mutilation practice among women of reproductive age in Mashuuru Sub- County, Kajiado County. The study specific objectives were; to determine the proportion of women, who have undergone female genital mutilation, identify socio-cultural factors and the legal and policy actions associated with FGM practice. The study adopted a descriptive cross-sectional study design. Both probability and no-probability sampling methods were employed. Two hundred and forty-six (246) women of reproductive age were systematically sampled from Kenyawa-Poka Ward of Mashuuru Sub-County at a predetermined interval of 4. Interview schedules and questionnaires were used for data collection. All required approvals from relevant authorities and informed consent from research participants was obtained. Descriptive data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22.0 with the aid of Microsoft Excel program to generate frequency tables, graphs and pie-charts. Qualitative results from key informants were triangulated with quantitative data as verbatim quotes. For inferential statistics, Chi-square test was conducted at confidence interval of 95% with ≤ p<0.05 p-values deemed significant to test variables‘ connection. The results of this study revealed that 68.6% of women of reproductive age in Kajiado County had undergone FGM and this was attributed to their culture. The study concludes that majority of demographic, socio-cultural and legal factors were significantly associated with practice of female genital mutilation. An approximately seven out of ten women of reproductive age in the county had undergone female genital mutilation which is above the national average. The study recommends that the county government of Kajiado to partner with other stakeholders to advocate for an alternative rite of passage, scale up sensitization campaigns and involve men in demystifying the cultural beliefs attached to FGM practice. The law enforcement officers at the community level should create anonymous channels for reporting female circumcision exercises.