The effects of female genital cut on the participation of girls in education: a case of Saboti Division, Transnzoia County, Kenya
Muyoma, Christine Eredi
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This study was carried out to investigate the effects of Female Genital Cut on the participation of girls in education in Saboti Division, Trans Nzoia County of Kenya. The research questions sought to find out the prevalence of FGC in primary schools, to compare the school attendance, retention rate and academic performance of schoolgirls who underwent FGC with those who did not undergo the cut and to obtain suggestions on how FGC would be eradicated from the community. The study adopted a causal-comparative research design to obtain data. The independent variable of the study was FGC status. Dependent variables were school attendance, retention rate and academic performance of schoolgirls in primary school. Five schools were selected using simple random sampling. From these, 683 schoolgirls in Standard five to eight were selected purposively and grouped into two groups. Ninety six who underwent FGC comprised one group while 587 who had not undergone the cut comprised another group. In addition, 20 teachers and 10 community leaders were selected as respondents using purposive sampling methods. Data were collected using questionnaires, focus group discussion guides and interview guides. Documentary analysis was also done on school records to obtain data relevant to the study. Data were classified, tabulated, and analyzed manually. Computation of percentages was done after which the findings were presented in graphs, pie charts and tables. Analyzed data were interpreted and conclusions drawn. The study findings were as follows: The prevalence rate of FGC in primary schools in Saboti Division was found to be 14.05%. With regard to school attendance, it was found that 33.3% of schoolgirls who underwent FGC were more frequently absent from school as compared to 3.4% who did not undergo the cut. Concerning retention in school, 38.2% of schoolgirls who underwent FGC were retained i11 school as compared to 96.42% who did not undergo the cut. In addition, the academic performance of schoolgirls who did not undergo FGC was better than that of schoolgirls who underwent the cut. There were 87% respondents with the opinion that FGC had a negative effect on the participation of girls in primary school education in Saboti Division while 13% felt that FGC had a positive effect in that it imparted virtues like courage and provided themes for non-formal curriculum activities like drama and choir. It was recommended that schoolgirls who underwent FGC should undergo intensive guidance and counseling to help them concentrate on their studies and pursue them to completion to avoid dropping out of school or performing poorly in their academics. In addition the community should be educated to desist from conducting FGC and take up alternative rites of passage. Finally, suggestions were made for further research related to this study.