Declare Sebei FGM free- Locals

The Sebei community, once synonymous with Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), is undergoing a transformative process more than a decade after the implementation of the anti-FGM law.

The community is redefining its identity through sports, social engagement, and economic initiatives, aiming to shed the historical association with FGM.

Stakeholders, now want the region associated with its newfound fame in athletics instead of the dark past.

FGM played a defining role in the status of women in society. Being a pastoral community, it is said that FGM was a key requirement for a marriage intended to reduce the sexual urge and possible fornication while their husbands were away tending to their hards.

Bukwo Woman Member of Parliament Evelyn Chemutai told Nile Post that the Sabiny always isolated themselves from other tribes to avoid diluting this strong tradition until 20 years back when they started opening up.

The MP further emphasized the role of education in decampaigning the practice and redefining the role of women in society.

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

The interventions culminated in the enactment of the anti-FGM law which criminalized the practice of FGM as a harmful practice. Chemutai says the law played a significant role in wiping out the ruminants "If you practice FGM, if you are found initiating a girl into FGM or merely witnessing it you will be arrested" said Chemutai.

The new Kapchorwa-Bukwo-Suam road is yet another game changer which has opened the region to the rest of the country unlike a few years back when it was a hard-to-reach area.

The region is now making a name for itself in athletics following the emergence of international athletes like Moses Ndiema Kipsiro, Stephen Kiprotich, Joshua Cheptegei, Jacob Kipliomo, and Stela Chesang. Sebei has gained fame due to the multiple athletic champions originating from the region.

"Uganda is on the global map because of these athletes, said.

SSebei Dioscece Bishop Paul Masaba Kipto also advocated for Sebei to be elevated to city status in recognition of their fame.

Cheptoyek Ruth, a 21-year-old aspiring athlete, aims to be the next world athletic champion. Unlike in the past, she does not contemplate undergoing FGM but dreams of achieving success in sports.

Cemutai says the community has maintained other traditional practices such as dances, local foods, and traditional regalia for their identity.

Tourism driven by picturesque scenery, billion-worth investment projects, and supported by the new Kapchorwa Suam road network is what residents now want the region to be known for.

Leaders are also encouraging residents to capitalize on supportive natural resources and government interventions to engage in commercial farming to boost their livelihoods.

Based on the above milestones achieved over a decade of consistent interventions, the people of Sebei are now advocating to be declared FGM-free now the practice is no more. Locals believe that the practice is no more on the Ugandan land.

"Sebei is no longer a region you can associate with FGM" said Rogers Barashaki a local radio journalist and youthful native adding that FGM.

Barashaki expressed disappointment with NGOs that continue to receive donations from the region to FGM for selfish reasons saying such NGOs that claim to be fighting the vice do not want to see it end due to associated financial gains from donors.

Chemutai says the community has maintained positive cultural practices such as male circumcision, traditional dances, local foods, and traditional regalia for their identity.

However, some elders are still hesitant to declare the region FGM-free. Charicha ABC and Chebet Aloysius say that it was wrong for the government to legislate against their culture. Charicha believes that the government would have instead put in place incentives to gradually sensitize the community about the dangers of FGM rather than legislation.

FGM is an Akaike cultural practice where the woman's clitoris is extracted to reduce her sexual urge. It is part of the patriarchy in the sabiny context in the past.

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