- Revisting FGC August 25, 2018
- Education a ‘Hit’ in the Maasai Harmonial Area March 6, 2018
- Questioning FGC May 21, 2017
- Hunger strikes Emburbul May 21, 2017
- Three Teen Girls off to Secondary School and Maasai Harmonial Registered as a Community-Based Organization January 15, 2017
- Cattle and Maasai Harmonial December 17, 2016
- Contraception: Is it cultural barriers or is it lack of supplies? November 30, 2016
- Progress Report November 30, 2016
- Comment on our Education page October 11, 2016
- Girls Education, Health, Sustainable Development Goals, and Population September 17, 2016
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MissionTo improve the livelihoods and health of the impoverished pastoral people of Emburbul Village and to empower the girls and women of Emburbul to control their own reproduction, their own lives, and their own bodies.
It is hoped that this mission will allow the people of Emburbal to:
1. Receive guidance to secure successful livelihoods, good health, and, lastly, a sustainable population size so that the Conservation district does not require the Emburbul people to leave the Conservation Area.
2. Receive short-term financial help, only as needed, to secure a sustainable future for the Emburbul people. Except in the case of education, where longer term financial help may be needed.
3. Receive external pro bono professional help that may be needed in areas of water supply/safety or building a school.
4. Become self-sufficient without destroying their culture.
5. Realize the potential of investment of Emburbul’s own resources, including animal husbandry, to secure a better livelihood. For example, swapping out bulls for a hardier breed.
6. Realize the potential of providing education for young men and women to a) improve livelihoods in the village such as animal husbandry or b) externally, such as health care worker or wild life management, so that they can provide for their family.
7. Realize the potential of empowering women to have more control over their own lives and deciding for themselves how many children they bear that would good for their own health and the health of a family - so that they can afford to provide for their basic needs.
Approaching FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) or FGC (Female Genital Cutting) from a global view is not the answer. In many cultures in Africa, including Muslim, FGC is mothers doing “what is best” for their daughters. It is not the same as ISIS capturing girls and women so that they can produce soldiers and it cannot be compared to sex trafficking. We cannot stop this practice by insulting mothers.
Tanzania passed a law that banned FGM. What did the Maasai in my project area do in response? They started cutting their girls at age 7-8 instead of at puberty, so they could hide the cutting from the government. This is even worse for the girls, because it marks them for early marriage before they even get a good start in school. If they are cut at puberty, at least they have a chance, being older, to protest. Or they can escape being cut until they quit school. An alternative passage ritual to being cut has been developed, so that girls of puberty age become ‘a woman’ without being cut. But if they are already cut, this alternative passage ritual is unavailable to them because they are not pubescent.
We call it FGC because it is a term that less accusatory of the parties involved in FGC. It is a term that is more likely to achieve the acceptance of the parties involved.
The NGO Tostan pioneered approaches against FGM in Senegal and found that they could accomplish eradication of the procedure at the community level, but it took engaging all the players, the imams, the cutters, the mothers, the men, the elders, and the mothers. And they had to get a buy-in from neighboring communities because their girls who are not cut cannot get married and their grooms would be from neighboring communities. Molly Melching, founder of Tostan, fought against a government ban of FGM, but the government proceeded with it anyway.
For more, see or blog Questioning FGC