The Jeanne Sauvé Foundation is proud to support two Sauvé Fellows, Esmael Omar and Rolando Jr Villamero, with this project. We are pleased to share details of their project and final report here. Thank you Esmael and Rolando for this report and for the fantastic work you have been doing!

Photo: The first batch of trainers with disabilities who participated in the Training of Trainers.
(Credit: Rolando Jr Villamero/Jeanne Sauve Foundation)

Summary

This final report of the “Enhancing Awareness of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) among Persons with Disabilities in Kenya” project, funded by the Jeanne Sauve Foundation Alumni Collaboration Fund, covers the period between July 2018 and July 2019. The report provides a description of the main project achievements, results and challenges against planned targets, and the proposed work plan to sustain the project beyond the funding.

The overall purpose of the project is to engage persons with disabilities, including girls and women and with disabilities, by raising their awareness about FGM and the policies condemning the practice. In addition, the project aims to increase the capacities of persons with disabilities to become advocates against FGM and for the said policies in their respective communities.

The achievements and results covered in this final report focus on the following: (1) establishment of knowledge about the link between FGM and disability in Kenya, (2) development and launch of accessible formats of the Prohibition of FGM Act, (3) capacity building of persons with disabilities on FGM and Prohibition of FGM Act, (4) engagement with the government especially the Anti-FGM Board to encourage sustainability of the project, and (5) inter-thematic learning between the two Jeanne Sauve fellows engaged in the project. In implementing the mentioned activities, the engagement of stakeholders was put of utmost importance. The project implementation was being spearheaded by the Anti-FGM Board as well as persons with disabilities with technical support being provided by the Jeanne Sauve Fellows.  The Board has the official mandate from the Government of Kenya to facilitate activities and initiatives in the country geared towards ending FGM.

The results achieved through the project are key contributions to the Sustainable Development Goal for Gender Equality (SDG 5) which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030. Furthermore, the project contributes to the operationalization of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), of which Kenya signed and ratified, specifically Article 16 – Freedom from exploitation, violence, and abuse. Finally, through the Constitution of Kenya, the project promotes the right of persons with disabilities to be treated with dignity and respect on an equal basis with others.

Despite its achievements and results, and its contribution to the operationalization of international and national policies, the project was faced with two challenges. First, due to the realities on the ground that were not captured in the planning process, the project needed to do some adjustments in terms of implementation of activities. This then affected the achievement of results and targets. Second, since the project focuses on combatting FGM, more women and girls with disabilities should have been engaged in the implementation. However, in the project’s results, only six women with disabilities out of 30 persons with disabilities (that is 20 per cent) were trained and engaged. The project assumes that the factor on geography, as mentioned above, might have limited the engagement of women and girls with disabilities in the implementation.

Prior to the official culmination of the project implementation, a meeting with the Anti-FGM Board was conducted. The meeting aimed to discuss with the Board the project implementation experiences, as well as to discuss the possible replication and scalability mechanisms for the project. The meeting provided an opportunity to further raise the awareness of the Board on the need to include persons with disabilities in anti-FGM agenda. However, this increased awareness needs to be complemented with strategic technical guidance on how to move forward. Therefore, the project proposes to add three months into its implementation timeline to focus on providing strategic technical guidance to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities in the anti-FGM agenda.

Project Results Framework  

With the goal of mobilizing persons with disabilities, especially women and girls with disabilities, in combatting FGM in Narok County, Kenya, the project was guided with the following results framework. The framework articulates the proposed activities to undertake as well as expected outputs or results to achieve.

Activity Description Output(s)  
1 Development of a brief paper documenting and analyzing the situation of girls and women with disabilities in Kenya in relation to harmful cultural practices such as FGM Availability of a situational analysis document
2 Conduct of a stakeholders meeting to enrich the mentioned document as well as to seek feedback in refining the project’s implementation strategies Availability of improved situational analysis document   Availability of refined implementation strategies for the project
3 Development of module for the Training of Trainers (ToT) workshops Availability of  ToT Workshops module
4 Identification of girls and women with disabilities to participate in the series of Training of Trainers (ToT) workshops on topics on harmful cultural practices such as FGM, policies in place (Anti-FGM Act) against such practices, and advocacy strategies Girls and women with disabilities as participants identified 
5 Formation of pool of girls and women with disabilities (from the ToT workshops) trained on the mentioned topics Pool of girls and women with disabilities as trainers established
6 Development of alternative formats (easy read, audio, brailled, among others) of the Anti-FGM Act accessible for persons with disabilities Availability of alternative formats of the Anti-FGM Act
7 Identification of one county in the country as pilot context as well as persons with disabilities in that county who could benefit from the series of awareness workshops to be led by the pool of girls and women with disabilities County identified   Persons with disabilities in the county as participants identified
8 Development of module for the awareness of raising workshops Availability of awareness raising workshops module
9 Conduct of series of awareness raising workshops on the mentioned topics to be led by the pool of girls and women with disabilities as trainers Participants with disabilities have awareness on topics such as FGM, policies in place to combat FGM, and advocacy strategies
10 Conduct of series of workshops with pool of girls and women with disabilities to reflect on the experiences (achievements, challenges, lessons learned) in conducting the awareness raising workshops in the target County Availability of document capturing the achievements, challenges, and lessons learned
11 Carry out stakeholders meeting to present the document and to provide platform for discussions to scale up and replicate the project Replication and scalability plan discussed and developed

Project Implementation Overview

Building on the planned results framework, the project implemented the activities with the following achievements or results:

Establishment of knowledge about the link between FGM and disability in Kenya

When the project commenced in Kenya, a desk review about the link between FGM and disability was initiated. It was planned that the findings of the desk review would provide the project an overview of the topic and would guide on the implementation of the project. However, the review process hinted that pieces of literature about the topic does not exist. This then led the project to gather primary data about FGM and disability through interviews with identified persons with disabilities. As a result, one piece entitled ‘FGM and disability in Kenya: interview with a person with disability’ was developed and published publicly (see Annex 1).

It is also important to point out that this project report is in itself a body of knowledge contributing to the discussions on the link between FGM and disability. The project’s engagement with persons with disabilities in Narok County stress the fact that persons with disabilities, especially women and girls with disabilities, are more vulnerable to harmful cultural practices such as FGM.

Photo: The Anti-FGM Board receives the accessible formats of the Prohibition of FGM Act.
(Credit: Rolando Jr Villamero/Jeanne Sauve Foundation)

Development and launch of accessible formats of the Prohibition of FGM Act

Kenya has a specific policy banning FGM and other harmful cultural practices. This policy is called the ‘Prohibition of FGM Act’. It outlines what FGM is all about as well FGM-related activities considered illegal. The policy also includes a section regarding the punishments for initiating and doing FGM-related activities.

However, the ‘Prohibition of FGM Act’ did not have accessible formats specifically for persons with disabilities. Recognizing the power of information as pre-requisite to empowerment, the project facilitated the development of disability-inclusive formats of the policy: 10 copies for large print format, 10 copies for easy to read format, 10 copies for braille format, and 10 copies for audio format. These formats were then launched officially by the Ministry of Public Service, Youth, and Gender Affairs together with other government agencies during the Second National End FGM Conference in Narok County.

In addition, the accessible formats were utilized during the capacity building workshops with persons with disabilities.

Photo: The accessible formats of the Prohibition of FGM Act were launched by relevant government agencies during the Second National End FGM Conference.
(Credit: Anti-FGM Board)

Capacity building of persons with disabilities on FGM and Prohibition of FGM Act

With the engagement of the Anti-FGM Board and the availability of accessible formats of the Prohibition of FGM Act, the project facilitated the capacity building of identified persons with disabilities in Narok County. The capacity building focused on educating persons with disabilities about harmful cultural practices such as FGM and the policy condemning the act. The process started by identifying 10 persons with disabilities (two are women with disabilities) to undergo a one-day Training of Trainers (ToT) on the mentioned topics. The training was facilitated in by representatives from Anti-FGM Board and Jeanne Sauve Fellows.

The 10 trainers with disabilities were then tasked to mobilize more persons with disabilities in Narok County to participate in the next capacity building workshops. As a result, an additional 20 persons with disabilities (four are women with disabilities) participated in the one-day capacity building workshop facilitated in by the 10 trainers with disabilities.

Participating persons with disabilities Men and Women Specific impairments
Trainers with disabilities Men – 8 Women – 2 Physical – 8 Albinism – 1 Hearing impairment – 1
Additional participants with disabilities Men – 16 Women – 4 Physical – 17 Hearing impairment – 3
TOTAL 30 30

Table 2: Disaggregated data of participating persons with disabilities in the project

Photo 4: The participating persons with disabilities of the project during one of the capacity building workshop sessions.
(Credit: Rolando Jr Villamero/Jeanne Sauve Foundation)

Engagement with the government especially the Anti-FGM Board to encourage sustainability

A critical achievement of the project is the active engagement of the government through the Anti-FGM Board in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the project. Specifically, the Board nominated one staff to work with the Jeanne Sauve Fellows in the project implementation. Furthermore, the Board’s engagement with the project has been manifested through the conduct of five consultative sessions including the final session presenting the achievements and way forward of the project.

The project has also been instrumental in raising the awareness and understanding of the Board regarding the need to include persons with disabilities in the anti-FGM agenda.

Inter-thematic learning for Jeanne Sauve Fellows

A powerful achievement the project has, which was not originally articulated in the results framework, is the opportunity for inter-thematic learning for the two fellows engaged in the project. As mentioned in the project proposal, the two fellows, Esmael and Rolando Jr, come from different expertise of work: Esmael is a specialist in gender and FGM, while Rolando Jr is a disability expert. Through the project, the fellows managed to find a link among the three themes mentioned. As a result, this encouraged Rolando Jr to learn more about gender and FGM and to include these two themes in his area of expertise. Esmael, on the other hand, has also been encouraged to learn about disability issues and how he can mainstream this into his gender and FGM work.

1. Pieces of literature about the link between FGM and disability in Kenya was established -FGM and disability in Kenya: Interview with a person with disability -Project final report: Enhancing Awareness of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) among Persons with Disabilities in Kenya  
2. Availability of disability-inclusive formats of Prohibition of FGM Act -10 copies for large print format -10 copies for easy to read format -10 copies for braille format -10 copies for audio format
3. Disability-inclusive formats of Prohibition of FGM Act officially launched and are available for use widely
4. Two major capacity building workshop sessions conducted to mobilize persons with disabilities in combatting FGM -One session for ToT -One session for additional persons with disabilities
5. 30 persons with disabilities (six are women with disabilities) trained and engaged capacity building workshops on FGM, policies condemning FGM, and advocacy strategies -10 are trainers with disabilities -20 are additional participants with disabilities
6. Increased awareness and understanding of Anti-FGM Board regarding the need to include persons with disabilities in the anti-FGM agenda
7. Five consultative meeting sessions with the Board conducted to ensure their engagement especially in the project planning and implementation
8. Inter-thematic learning between fellows on gender, FGM, and disability established

Table 3: List of project’s achievements and results

Challenges and Lessons Learned

Like any other project, this project was faced with the following two major challenges:

Planning versus reality on the ground

Due to the realities on the ground that were not captured in the planning process, the project needed to do some adjustments in terms of implementation of activities. This then affected the achievement of results and targets. For instance, in the planning process, the project aimed to engage 100 persons with disabilities. However, only 30 persons with disabilities were engaged. This was due to the fact that Narok as a county, where the project was implemented, is geographically vast. This then implies that bringing persons with disabilities to participate in the project implementation into Narok town would cost the project significantly more against the planned budget.

Therefore, critical to any project planning is the engagement of stakeholders on the ground. These stakeholders can provide valuable information on what may work or might not work in implementing a project.

Photo: A Deaf person as one of the trainers trained on FGM, the anti-FGM Act, and advocacy strategies
(Credit: Rolando Jr Villamero/Jeanne Sauve Foundation)

Few women with disabilities engaged in the project

Since the project focuses on combatting FGM, more women and girls with disabilities should be engaged in the implementation. However, in the project’s results, only six women with disabilities out of 30 persons with disabilities (that is 20 per cent) were trained and engaged. The project assumes that the factor on geography, as mentioned above, might have limited the engagement of women and girls with disabilities in the implementation.

This specific challenge touches on the importance of the slogan ‘nothing about us, without us’. Since the project looks into a problem affecting women and girls, they therefore need strong representation in the project planning and implementation.

Sustainability Plan

Prior to the official culmination of the project implementation, a meeting with the Anti-FGM Board, was conducted. The meeting aimed to discuss with the Board the project implementation experiences, as well as to discuss the possible replication and scalability mechanisms for the project. The meeting provided an opportunity to further raise the awareness of the Board on the need to include persons with disabilities in anti-FGM agenda. However, this increased awareness needs to be complemented with strategic technical guidance on how to move forward. Therefore, the project proposes to add three months into its implementation timeline to focus on providing strategic technical guidance and support to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities in the anti-FGM agenda. Esmael, one of the Fellows, will commit his time and expertise to ensure that the project is scaled up and that the different stakeholders interested in the project benefit from the lessons drawn from this pilot project.  Specifically, the extension proposal will focus on the following activities:

Support the Board to produce additional copies of disability-inclusive formats of Prohibition of FGM Act
Conduct consultative meetings with the Board and persons with disabilities with the goal of developing a specific plan regarding the inclusion of disability in the anti-FGM agenda
Develop and present a concept note to UNFPA and Anti-FGM board who are willing to support the project moving forward

Table 4: List of proposed activities for the project extension

Thank you

A special thank you to Rolando and Esmael for writing this report and for carrying out such a successful project. If you would like to reach out to either Rolando or Esmael, here is their contact information:

Esmael Omar

Project Manager

Email: [email protected]

Rolando Jr Villamero

Project Officer

Email: [email protected]