Residents in West Pokot are celebrating the milestone authorities in the region have taken to mitigate the rise of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) practice in the region.
Area Chief Philip Wapale revealed that they have been able to reduce the cases of FGM in the region for the last ten years through swift operations between the Kenyan authorities and their Ugandan counterparts.
The administrator said that Ugandan security agencies have been helping in arresting those forcing young girls to go through the cut in Kenya but escape to Uganda once they hear Kenya's law enforcers are looking for them.
"We have witnessed a reduced number of cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) thanks to the partnership between security agencies in Uganda and Kenya," Wapale said.
He also noted that sensitization campaigns championed by the authorities have also helped reduce the cases of FGM in the region.
Though the cases of FGM are declining, Wapale noted that teenage pregnancies have been on the rise. He revealed that this has been witnessed since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic more so when the country was put under lockdown and learning institutions were closed.
"The number of teenage pregnancies was so high during that period because most parents left their children to walk around without monitoring them," he added.
He, however, noted that those school girls who got pregnant during this time should resume learning in schools once they deliver their babies.
"We are calling on all girls who dropped out of school owing to early pregnancies to resume studies once they have delivered. We caution parents against marrying off their young girls," he said.
His statement comes at a time when the county's security team in conjunction with the Ministry of Education have launched an initiative that aims at ensuring all students who dropped out of school resume their education.
Area county police commander Joel Kirui said that the operation will be geared towards the realisation of the government's policy of ensuring a 100% transitioning retention of learners in school.
"We are calling on parents and guardians who are withholding their children at home to cooperate and let them get back to class. Failure to which, we will drag the learners out of their homes," Kirui said.