Women's Issues

FGM Ceremony: Pokot Traditional Rite to Womanhood – Photos

Female Genital Mutilation – Documented through the camera lens of Reuters Photographer Siegfried Modola

FGM Ceremony

A man holds a girl as she tries to escape when she realized she is to to be married, about 80 km (50 miles) from the town of Marigat in Baringo County, Kenya December 7, 2014. As Pokot tradition dictates, the future husband arrived to her family home with a group of men to collect the girl. The men arrived with the last settled dowry of livestock for the girl’s family. In this case it was 20 goats, three camels and 10 cows, given during a period of several weeks. The remaining 10 cows were to be given the morning the girl was taken to her new home by her husband and the rest of the men. The girl was unaware of the marriage arrangements that her father had made. The family said that if they had told her in advance she might have run away from home.


FGM Ceremony

A man inspects the last settled dowry of several cows received for his daughter’s hand in an arranged marriage. In this case it was 20 goats, three camels and 10 cows, given during a period of several weeks.


RITE TO WOMANHOOD

FGM Ceremony

As Pokot tradition dictates, girls take part in a month-long ceremony that marks their coming to age and prepares them for marriage in Kenya. A Pokot girl gets her braids done by her friends prior to an initiation ceremony marking her passing over into womanhood. Over a hundred girls that will take part in the initiation ceremony lasting one night and through the next day. Before the ceremony, as Pokot tradition dictates, the girls are secluded for over a month, out of sight of the men in the community. The ceremony will mark the girls coming to age and they will be able to be married. For most, their marriages have already been arranged.


FGM Ceremony

Members of the Pokot tribe gather round a fire the evening before the ceremony (Source: The Guardian)


FGM Ceremony

The girls wait together the night before they will be subject to the procedure (Source: The Guardian)


FGM Ceremony

The girls leave their homes and make their way to the place where they will undress and wash during their ceremony (Source: The Guardian)


FGM Ceremony

A woman performs FGM on a girl (Source: The Guardian)


FGM Ceremony

Girl from Pokot tribe in Kenya after undergoing FGM (Source: The Guardian)


FGM Ceremony

A girl bleeds onto a rock after being cut (Source: The Guardian)


FGM Ceremony
A Pokot girl is smeared with a white paint to show she has undergone the rite of passage (Source: The Guardian)

Although the Kenyan government has banned FGM, many continue to practise it as reported by IRN News“The Children’s Act (2001) criminalizes the subjection of children to FGM/C; people violating the law are subject to prison sentences… but officials say the law’s main impact has been to drive the practice underground.”

For a first-hand account on FGM, read | Redempta Wekesa on the ills of Female Genital Mutilation


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