Tony Mwebia










My name is Tony Mwebia, the Executive Director of Men End FGM Foundation, Gender equality advocate and writer of both online and offline publications.

In the year 2012 I decided to take up volunteer work with HIAS Refugee Trust of Kenya an organization that works with urban refugees residing in Nairobi and its environs. Two months down the line working with urban refugees there was a vacancy for a temporary project assistant FGM and I was given the opportunity. This was a pilot project funded by UNHCR and it was occasioned by the passing of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act in October 2011, the law that criminalizes FGM in Kenya. Since the law is applicable to everybody residing within the Kenyan territory there was a need to sensitize the refugees on the same. I must admit until this moment I knew very little about FGM.

The position required me to know the basics of FGM and especially Kenyan laws on the same. This acted as motivation and within no time I found myself reading extensively on FGM. We held several dialogues and sensitization meetings within Nairobi; I was able to meet refugees from Congo, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Somali who shared their different stories and experiences with FGM. Some of the stories were really touching and they made me want to learn more and more about FGM. I heard things that I could not imagine. We had doctors and midwives sharing their experiences in the labor wards especially with women that had undergone infibulations (type 3 FGM).

Men openly spoke about how they lost their loved ones as a result of complications during birth, women shared how they lost their daughters to excessive bleeding during the cut and the pain that they had to endure every time they had sex. The stories completely changed my heart and I swore to try the little I could to end this menace.

My turning point was a Somali man who shared how he lost his wife and baby due to FGM-related complications while they were on their voyage from Somalia to Kenyan refugee camp. I could not understand why men rarely share these stories openly, this is something that puzzles me to date.

After completing my contract with HIAS Refugee Trust of Kenya. I got a job with a government parastatal in the year 2013 and I was posted to Kuria, Migori County in Kenya. In Kuria the prevalence of FGM is over 80%. Here I came face to face with FGM being practiced for the first time in my life. I had never seen people dance and sing publicly while escorting girls to undergo the cut. The men were armed with machetes and clubs as they escorted the women and girls to undergo the cut. I could not comprehend why men were doing this. Then I realized the men were not allowed to witness the actual cutting, they were just providing ’security against the police officers so that the women were not arrested.

This combined with the refugee experience triggered me to start an online campaign dubbed #MenEndFGM. The essence of this campaign was to lobby government agencies, activists and NGOs to include men in their End FGM Programming. I must admit most men have no idea of what happens during the actual cutting as this is a preserve for women. As my fellow activist from the Maasai community once said: ”In my community men don't cut women and girls but women and girls are cut for them”. At the same time I started writing and sharing my experiences in the fight against FGM via my website.

Over the years #MenEndFGM has evolved into Men End FGM Foundation a fully registered organization that focuses on rallying men and boys to join the fight against FGM, child marriage and other forms of SGBV. The foundation hosts the Men End FGM Movement which brings on board men from across Kenya who have committed to this cause. As an organization, we are constantly looking for partners to support our work as we continue carrying online and offline campaigns. You can visit the MenEndFGM website to get in touch with us and learn more about our work.

Tony Mwebia

My name is Tony Mwebia, the Executive Director of Men End FGM Foundation, Gender equality advocate and writer of both online and offline publications.

In the year 2012 I decided to take up volunteer work with HIAS Refugee Trust of Kenya an organization that works with urban refugees residing in Nairobi and its environs. Two months down the line working with urban refugees there was a vacancy for a temporary project assistant FGM and I was given the opportunity. This was a pilot project funded by UNHCR and it was occasioned by the passing of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act in October 2011, the law that criminalizes FGM in Kenya. Since the law is applicable to everybody residing within the Kenyan territory there was a need to sensitize the refugees on the same. I must admit until this moment I knew very little about FGM.

The position required me to know the basics of FGM and especially Kenyan laws on the same. This acted as motivation and within no time I found myself reading extensively on FGM. We held several dialogues and sensitization meetings within Nairobi; I was able to meet refugees from Congo, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Somali who shared their different stories and experiences with FGM. Some of the stories were really touching and they made me want to learn more and more about FGM. I heard things that I could not imagine. We had doctors and midwives sharing their experiences in the labor wards especially with women that had undergone infibulations (type 3 FGM).

Men openly spoke about how they lost their loved ones as a result of complications during birth, women shared how they lost their daughters to excessive bleeding during the cut and the pain that they had to endure every time they had sex. The stories completely changed my heart and I swore to try the little I could to end this menace.

My turning point was a Somali man who shared how he lost his wife and baby due to FGM-related complications while they were on their voyage from Somalia to Kenyan refugee camp. I could not understand why men rarely share these stories openly, this is something that puzzles me to date.

After completing my contract with HIAS Refugee Trust of Kenya. I got a job with a government parastatal in the year 2013 and I was posted to Kuria, Migori County in Kenya. In Kuria the prevalence of FGM is over 80%. Here I came face to face with FGM being practiced for the first time in my life. I had never seen people dance and sing publicly while escorting girls to undergo the cut. The men were armed with machetes and clubs as they escorted the women and girls to undergo the cut. I could not comprehend why men were doing this. Then I realized the men were not allowed to witness the actual cutting, they were just providing ’security against the police officers so that the women were not arrested.

This combined with the refugee experience triggered me to start an online campaign dubbed #MenEndFGM. The essence of this campaign was to lobby government agencies, activists and NGOs to include men in their End FGM Programming. I must admit most men have no idea of what happens during the actual cutting as this is a preserve for women. As my fellow activist from the Maasai community once said: ”In my community men don't cut women and girls but women and girls are cut for them”. At the same time I started writing and sharing my experiences in the fight against FGM via my website.

Over the years #MenEndFGM has evolved into Men End FGM Foundation a fully registered organization that focuses on rallying men and boys to join the fight against FGM, child marriage and other forms of SGBV. The foundation hosts the Men End FGM Movement which brings on board men from across Kenya who have committed to this cause. As an organization, we are constantly looking for partners to support our work as we continue carrying online and offline campaigns. You can visit the MenEndFGM website to get in touch with us and learn more about our work.

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