Sebei Community Champions Transformation: From FGM legacy to Athletic triumph

The Sebei community is fervently advocating for the declaration of their region as FGM-free.

Over a decade since the implementation of the anti-FGM law, Sebei has undergone a transformative process, redefining its identity through sports, social engagement, and economic initiatives.

The emergence of international athletic champions like Moses Ndiema Kipsiro, Stephen Kiprotich, Joshua Cheptegei, Jacob Kipliomo, and Stela Chesang has propelled Sebei into the global spotlight, earning the region recognition beyond its past stigma.

The new Kapchorwa-Bukwo-Suam road has further opened the once hard-to-reach area to the rest of the country, contributing to the region's newfound fame in athletics.

Bukwo Woman Member of Parliament, Evelyn Chemutai, emphasized the role of education in dismantling the practice of FGM, stating,

"Most of us who went to school were exposed to other communities and we were told the disadvantages of undergoing FGM."

The enactment of the anti-FGM law played a significant role in eradicating the harmful practice.

"If you practice FGM, if you are found initiating a girl into FGM or merely witnessing it, you will be arrested," warned Chemutai.

However, the community remains committed to preserving positive cultural practices, such as male circumcision, traditional dances, local foods, and traditional regalia.

While many locals express pride in the region's transformation, some elders, like Charicha ABC and Chebet Aloysius, remain hesitant to declare the region completely FGM-free.

They argue that government legislation against their cultural practices was a misstep, suggesting that incentives and gradual sensitization would have been more effective.

Sebei leaders are now pushing for the region to be elevated to city status in recognition of its athletic achievements.

The community is encouraged to capitalize on natural resources and government interventions to engage in commercial farming, boosting livelihoods and fostering economic growth.

Driven by picturesque scenery, billion-worth investment projects, and the new Kapchorwa-Suam road network, tourism is becoming a key factor in the region's narrative.

However, concerns have been raised about NGOs allegedly exploiting the situation for financial gain. Local radio journalist Rogers Barashaki expressed disappointment, stating,

"NGOs that claim to be fighting the vice do not want to see it end due to associated financial gains from donors."

As Sebei stands at the cusp of shedding its historical association with FGM, the community's journey toward a new identity reflects resilience, cultural pride, and a commitment to positive change.

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