Public Perceptions of Female Circumcision and Alternative Rite of Passage among the Keiyo Community of Kenya

  • Caren - Jerop Alupe University College
  • Abraham K. Mulwo Moi University
  • Paul Chepkuto Moi University


Efforts to eradicate FGM have been laid down not only at the international level but also at the national levels. In 1997 a new approach was initiated in Kenya to provide an alternative rite of passage that excludes the ‘cut’. This approach was adapted among the Keiyo community in 2003 and named ‘Tumdo ne leel’. Though this approach has been on for several years now, there is evidence that the practice is still on. This begs the question as to the wisdom behind the continued practice of FGM. Thus the need to establish the perceptions of girls on Tumdo Ne Leel as an alternative rite of passage; how the opinion leaders made sense of Tumdo Ne Leel; and the public perceptions of an adult woman who has undergone Tumdo Ne Leel. From the findings it emerged that the platform used to reach the community was not embraced by the community. Besides the skepticism associated with the programme, some participants perceived it as harmful since it was ‘misleading’ young people to abandon their traditional practices. This paper recommends a participatory communication approach in which the local community is involved not only in the implementation of the campaign but also in the design of the communication strategy

Key words:  Female genital mutilation; Public perception; Alternative rite of passage