Kenyan girls out of school in the epidemic: sharp increase in circumcision, child marriage and pregnancy

The 13-year-old girl, gumato, is a nomadic camel tribe in the semi-arid northeast of Kenya. Until March, he went to school in a pink shirt and a dark blue school uniform. A few weeks after returning home, gumato’s parents decided to have their daughter circumcised. The operation has been banned by the Kenyan government, but is still practised in some nomadic tribes. After the “operation” without disinfection, gumato’s body was injured. She was worried that she would soon be betrothed to a man by her parents. < / P > < p > and for Kenyan girls like kumato, school suspension under the new crown epidemic is not just a lack of Education – at home, they are at increased risk of circumcision, forced child marriage and underage pregnancy. And if schools don’t return to school, the risk will be with all the “new generation” of girls. According to Al Jazeera television, the rate of circumcision among women aged 15-49 in Kenya has dropped from 28% to 21% since a law banning circumcision was enacted in 2011. However, the degree of abandonment of circumcision is different in different regions and cultures. In western Kenya, the rate of circumcision is only 0.8%; in some areas of the gabra and borana nomadic tribes in the north-east, it is as high as 97%; in the Maasai communities in southern Kenya, the rate of circumcision is 78%. Gababa, coordinator of AMREF Africa health, a Kenyan based medical organization, points out that schools are a strong “safety net” for girls: teachers will introduce the risk of female circumcision to their students; at the beginning of school, if a girl is found to be circumcised, students will report to the teacher and the school will call the police, which will prevent many parents from giving their daughters Circumcision. Jabba and gumato are from the gabra tribe. She advocates shortening school holidays, because holidays are very dangerous for girls. “Imagine what kind of disaster will happen to girls if our schools don’t open all the time!” Gumato’s mother told Al Jazeera that she had always wanted to circumcise her daughter, because the men of the gabra tribe only married women who had been circumcised. < / P > < p > “we are very happy when the school is closed. It’s a good time to circumcise a girl. Usually the school holiday time is too short to recover. ” Gummato’s mother was sitting on the ground at home, with a small bonfire nearby. In early April, gumato and two other girls of the same age were taken to another village. They were asked to wash their private parts with cold water and then be circumcised one by one. < / P > < p > according to gumato, the process of circumcision was “extremely painful”: two women clasped her from the back, two women grabbed her legs from the front, another woman covered her eyes, and the last woman circumcised. “They told me that if I scream and cry, I’m a coward and no one will marry me.” After circumcision, they did not receive any disinfection or treatment. “No one cleaned up the blood for me. My legs were tied together for four days. I want to go to the bathroom. I can only pee in the urinal, and they won’t let me drink water After seven days, the girls finally came home. Gumato’s wound was infected. For two months, she was so painful that she couldn’t walk. She still felt pain when she urinated. “In our tribe, the traditional idea is that after a girl is circumcised, she is ready to get married. Our family is very poor, only five sheep, seven goats, not even camels Before the outbreak of Xinguan, the father of gumato worked as a construction worker in the village, but after the outbreak of the epidemic, the construction site was stopped and the gumatos had no source of income. “If I get married, my father will receive three camels as a betrothal gift.” Said gumato. < / P > < p > many of the calls reported that girls had been raped. In addition to Kenya, the number of child marriage, rape and circumcision related cases has increased in many countries. According to the prediction of the United Nations Population Fund, before the outbreak of the epidemic, 33000 girls were forced into child marriage every day, and about 4.1 million girls were expected to be circumcised this year. Due to the impact of the new epidemic, by 2030, there will be 13 million more girls forced into child marriage and 2 million more likely to be circumcised by 2030. According to nangu, founder of the rescue center in kajiyaduo County, Kenya, 24 of the 52 girls in the center had to be sent home because of the epidemic prevention requirements. But she is worried that girls will go home to be circumcised and may be forced into child marriage. < / P > < p > although the center signed a contract with parents promising not to allow their daughters to be circumcised or prematurely married, unfortunately, two girls have been threatened with circumcision after returning home. Jababa said that due to the closure of schools and the departure of teachers, some staff of international organizations have also left due to the risk of infection. Parents and elderly people of the gabra nomadic tribe believe that girls in their families can now be “whatever they want.”. < / P > < p > “parents tell their children that the new coronavirus will always exist and that school will never open. Some girls choose their baby parents when they are born, and their parents even think that it is a waste of time for them to stay at home. ” Said Jabba. < / P > < p > “in addition, many families are facing economic difficulties due to the epidemic prevention requirements, livestock transportation is very difficult, and the income of nomadic tribes is sharply reduced. Therefore, parents are anxious to marry their daughters out in exchange for betrothal gifts.” According to Kenyan media reports, activists have rescued dozens of girls forced to marry children since schools were closed across the country, including marsabi and kajiyado counties. < / P > < p > primary and secondary schools in Kenya have not yet resumed. According to the World Health Organization, only six of the 39 countries in sub Saharan Africa have fully reopened their schools. < / P > < p > “the epidemic has ruined my life.” Said Sara, a girl in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Sarah, 15, was a freshman in high school before she was granted the city. Sarah and her family live in Kibera slums. Her parents work part-time jobs on weekdays. Her mother washes clothes and her father works as a builder. After the outbreak, the family lost their income. Before the outbreak, Sara said she had lunch at school and dinner at home, “but now I often have no food for a day.” Sarah said she was often with girls who claimed to be able to get food, clothes and sanitary napkins, but was once raped by a boy who bought her food. Sarah is pregnant and threatened with her life by her angry father. In order to avoid her father, she moved out of the slum with her mother and sisters and slept in a nearby market. According to the statistics of UNESCO’s global suspension monitoring project, more than 121 million students have been out of school in 11 African countries since March. Due to the lack of radio, television, computer and other communication facilities, many students can not take online classes. The group estimates that about 30 million students worldwide may never be able to return to school. Recently, a group of 275 former world leaders, economists and educators expressed their concern about the “new generation” of children: children may lose their development opportunities forever after they are out of school. < / P > < p > “they are the most vulnerable children in the world, and education is the only way to change their fate, but this path is about to be closed. For many underage girls, attending school is the best way to resist child marriage and explore life possibilities. ” The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s fund call on African governments to open schools safely as soon as possible: “schools not only pave the way for success for Africans, but also provide a haven for the growth and development of many children in difficult times. We must not just focus on epidemic prevention and let these children become the “lost generation.” However, it is not easy to return to school in an all-round way – hand washing is an important way to curb the spread of the epidemic, but most public schools in Kenya do not have tap water or have no water at all. Schools are overcrowded, and there are usually more than 60 students in a classroom. Students need to share desks, and it is also difficult to keep a social distance of 1.5 meters. According to who and the United Nations Children’s foundation, only one quarter of schools in sub Saharan Africa have basic cleaning facilities, 44% have drinking water and only 47% have basic toilets. < / P > < p > “no one knows when we will be able to go back to school again.” Alinor, a 17-year-old student at said Fatima boarding school in isioro County, Kenya, said. Said Fatima school closed on March 16 and has no plan to open. < / P > < p > “school closures are frustrating. Recently, when I was studying under a tree, a man came up and said, “don’t waste your time, burn all the books. The school will not open again. ‘” ‘said Mr. ellinoor. < p > < p > for children from nomadic tribes like Elinor, dropout means a retrogression in history: “in our village, many people think that girls should not read. Girls are born with babies at home. Now that the school is closed, the idea is getting stronger and stronger. ” CUISINE&HEALTH