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Project information

End Female Circumcision (FGC)

Female genital cutting (FGC), also known as female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision, is a hotly contested subject internationally. The only way to eliminate FGC is to understand it's cultural value and create a new practice that conveys the same values without harming young girls.

February 2014 - June 2014

Charity information: S.A.F.E.

S.A.F.E. logo
  • Need


    27% of girls in Kenya are circumcised and, among some ethnic groups - such as the Maasai - it is a near universal practice. It causes serious long-term health problems, increases mother and child death rates during birth, increases girls drop-out from school, and perpetuates inequalities in women's rights. There are very few projects which have developed an approach to changing the practice of FGC that is culturally sensitive and scaleable.


    SAFE Maa (part of the S.A.F.E. team) has been working with the Loita Hills Maasai for 7 years to develop an alternative rite of passage - a ritual which initiates the young girl into womanhood and validates her identity as part of the Maasai community without any genital cutting. Between 2014-2016, this project will scale up activities to try to achieve a community declaration of abandonment of the practice by 2016. We seek funding for 4 months of this essential, community-driven work.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Sensitise communities to the need for change


    » Using our network of peer educators and volunteers, we will work at the household level to educate families in the privacy of their own homes.
    » We will work with all the schools in the area to provide training to teachers and education to young people on the alternative to FGC.
    » We will work with all groups with a special interest, such as circumcisers and warriors, to ensure that they are part of the process of change
    » We will involve all the local leaders in the initial phase of sensitisation to garner their support for change in the community.

    What success will look like

    Educating households through individual conversations and reaching children and teachers in 13 schools, to get buy-in from all the local leaders in the area for change

    Aim 2

    To bring the issue of eradication of FGC into the realm of public debate.


    » We will devise performances with local populations that communicate issues associated with FGC.
    » We will run local drama competitions for schools and young people to educate peers and elders. Young people will be able to talk more freely about FGC
    » We will run local meetings to educate and facilitate discussion on FGC and how it can be changed.

    What success will look like

    Performing our FGC performance to over 4,000 people and hosting community events which promote the need for the community to change to the Alternative Rite of Practice

    Aim 3

    To introduce the Alternative Rite of Passage to replace the traditional practive of FGC


    » We will support families and villages through the alternative. S.A.F.E. will make it an even more impressive ceremony than the original ritual.
    » S.A.F.E. will provide counselling to the girl and family to ensure that she is not subject to peer pressure from girls who have already been cut.

    What success will look like

    Promoting Alternative Rite of Passage ceremonies to families of girls approaching circumcision age, through a network of advocates for change and SAFE Maa staff

    Aim 4

    To share our approach and learnings with other people.


    » We will publish research and reports, and seek to leverage as much relevant publicity as possible.

    What success will look like

    Publish our results in the Kenyan media, promote the alternative rite of passage on vernacular radio stations (KBC Maa), and to present our approach in other Maasai communities

  • Impact


    Long term, the eradication of FGC will create generations of girls who are free from pain, who have the right to stay in school, and who have equitable access to rights and privileges.

    Our success will be demonstrated by fewer reported deaths and illness, an observable change in young girls behaviour, better attendance and attainment rates of girls in school, and a change in attitude amongst both men and women in the communites in relation to a woman's worth.


    Resistance from opinion leaders. We have approached all the influential leaders in our operational area and brought them into the process of change to minimise this risk.

    Tribal animosities are rife in Kenya, as the post-election violence of 2007/8 showed. Specifically, violence and cattle rustling between the Maasai and neighboring Sonjo tribe can endanger staff and project viability. The risk and danger of inter-tribal conflict affecting the team will be monitored by the Project Managers.


    We will provide financial and programme reports for donors every 6 months (or on request) and there will be regular updates available on our website.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £28,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £11,750 Community outreach 4 months of local staff salaries to educate community members about need for change and abandonment
      £4,600 Education through performances 4 tours of performances to deliver FGC education to remote communities
      £3,570 Schools engagement Teacher training and 4 months work with school children
      £3,600 Engage community leaders Warriors, circumcisers, elders educated in need for change
      £1,480 Overheads Vehicle maintenance and office running costs
      £3,000 Share learnings Communicate project learnings with partners
  • Background


    Kenya is a vibrant mesh of tribes, each incredibly proud of their strong cultural traditions. The project is in the Maasai area of Loita Hills, South West Kenya. It is 1700 sq miles, with no roads, electricity, phone networks or public infrastructure. The Maasai have maintained a pastoral lifestyle, largely unchanged, that supports a population of 30,000 in this area.


    The Maasai are proactively engaging with modernity and looking for ways to manage change in ways that benefit them without threatening to destroy their rich culture. Our FGC project has been concieved of and designed by young Maasai leaders. It will benefit Maasai girls who will be spared the trauma of FGC and it will also sustain the pride that the Maasai community has in its heritage.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Our charity is made up of people from the communities in which we work. We have local knowledge that is exceptional. We have a long standing relationship with the Maasai community in this area, and it is the community has approached us to take on this project. This project has already successfully enabled an estimated 20% of young girls now experience the Alternative Rite of Passage and stay in school.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Sarah Tenoi

    Project Manager of SAFE Maa - she is a pioneering advocate for women's rights in Loita. She is Maasai, circumcised and determined to eliminate FGC.

    Amos Leuka

    Project Manager SAFE Maa - he is a respected community leader and advocate for eliminating FGC in this patriarchal society.

    Dominic Tenoi

    Sarah Tenoi's husband who has always publically and privately supported her effort to break this convention and fight for women's rights.

    SAFE Maa

    A group of 15 exceptionally talented performers who courageously advocate for profound social changes, including FGC.

SAFE Maa Project Manager Sarah (right)

SAFE Maa Project Manager Sarah (right)


Gets 1 girl through Alternative Rite

I am a mother and what shall I do? If my child is uncircumcised she will have nothing. She will be case aside, with no husband and no home.

Maasai Mother