Kenya has recorded a dramatic reduction in cases of female genital mutilation, a UN agency has said.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said on Monday that about 27 per cent of Kenyan girls and women were reported in a recent survey to have undergone the practice, compared to 38 per cent 20 years ago.
Among 29 surveyed countries in Africa and the Middle East, the rate of decline is steepest in Kenya and the Central African Republic.
“In the space of three generations, the practice has become rare among the Kalenjin and Kikuyu and has almost disappeared among the Meru,” Unicef says. “At the same time, more than 95 per cent of Somali and Kisii girls are still being cut,” it says.
Unicef says most Kenyan girls and women see no benefit in the practice and this view is held by 59 per cent of Kenyan females who have undergone the “cut”.
The decline may reflect enhanced government efforts to restrict the practice. The Unicef report cites a 2011 law that extended a ban on the cutting of minors to include adult women and prohibited the practice by Kenyan citizens outside the country’s borders.