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THE IMPACT OF THE CHILDREN ACT IN ERADICATING FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION IN MANDERA EAST CONSTITUENCY
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ABSTRACT

The practice of Female Genital Mutilation has been carried out amongst the community members in Mandera East Community from time immemorial. There have been measures introduced by the Government aimed at containing this practice, including enacting the Children Act which prohibits the carrying out of FGM. This study sought to establish how effective the Children Act has been as a tool for bringing about behavior change in eradicating FGM. It sought to determine the level of awareness of the Children Act amongst the community members and if the introduction of the Children Act has led to a reduction in the prevalence of FGM within this community.

This study confirmed that FGM was a deeply rooted cultural practice which was widely supported by members of the community and in particular, the mothers and female relatives of the girls within the community. On the other hand, the level of awareness of the Children Act in this community was found to be low, with very few of these respondents being aware that the Act prohibited FGM.

The study also found that the Children Act was rarely used as a tool for behavior change. The members of this community have always looked to their traditions and rules governing them to deal with any problems that arose from within the community. This is compounded by the fact that the community members, rather than turn to the police and judiciary enforcement mechanisms, prefer the traditional mechanisms within the community, including the panel of elders for determination and resolution of disputes.

Given the nature of FGM and in particular, the fact that it is a deeply rooted tradition, this study found that it is not just enough to enact legislation prohibiting a form of conduct within the society. This must go hand in hand with capacity building and the creation of awareness both at the policy level, at the time of enacting the law as well as the post enactment period as a way of creating knowledge, ensuring acceptance of the law and enabling persons within the particular society to use the law as a means of ensuring certain standards of behavior are maintained in the society. The acceptance of the law would go a long way in facilitating the enforcement of the law as community members would be more inclined to participate in law enforcement, thereby giving the existing enforcement mechanism the support it needs in ensuring law and order within the community.

http://erepository.uonbi.ac.ke/handle/11295/9220