Anti FGM (Maasai project) End of project (Phase 2 2012-2016) Evaluation report
Background During the period 2006 to 2016 one of the projects implemented by FPFK was the Ant-FGM project which focused on identifying strategies for effective elimination of the harmful traditional practice of girl circumcision and subsequent early and forced marriages. This project was carried out in areas predominantly occupied by the Maasai people where FGM is a deeply ingrained cultural practice. FPFK as an institution believes that whereas the culture of the Maasai people should be respected, there was need to address those aspects that not only violated girls and women rights but had also hindered the community from achieving development goals such as education for the girls and women. Based on this situation FPFK implemented the FGM project with the purpose of mobilizing local churches in the Southern region of Kenya to advocate for the rights of Maasai girls and women with a view to stop the practice of FGM and subsequent early and forced marriages. The project was implemented in Kajiado, Narok, Oloitokitok and TransMara areas of the Southern rift region of Kenya. Purpose/objective At the end of the 2nd phase of project implementation FPFK carried out an end of phase final evaluation which aimed at assessing the impact of the project and determining the way forward regarding project sustainability and management after external financial support. While the evaluation made reference to the 1st phase of the project, it focused mainly on the 2nd phase. Specifically, the evaluation had three main objectives which included; assessing impact and performance; project design, relevance and sustainability and identify key lessons and implications for the way forward. Methodology A desk review, field visits and interviews with key implementers and leadership of FPFK. Key findings Key stakeholders were aware of the dangers and negative effects of FGM on both individuals and the Masaai community in general. This awareness enabled the various groups to respond in ways that decreased the prevalence and impact of FGM in the respective regions. Impact of the project was seen in the steady increase in numbers of girls who attended the ARP (Alternative rights of passage) events symbolising their determination and confidence not to be circumcised, as well as young men (morans) beginning to marry uncircumcised girls. It enhanced Maasai community (especially the girls) knowledge on human rights and the need for them to be upheld. Resource persons had their capacity built to provide ongoing support to the respective communities through Community Conversations and Church and Community Mobilisation Process (CCMP) interventions; to address issues of FGM, and facilitate dialogue, analysis and action on key issues as a way of enabling ownership and sustainability of the efforts. This strategy of investing capacity in local community members earned the project acceptance among the target groups, and was a sustainable investment for the work to continue beyond the project work. While the project registered great success in its efforts against FGM and there is evidence to show this, it was difficult to assess the extent of this success. This was largely because no baseline had been conducted prior to the start of the project and the monitoring and documentation systems and processes did not capture the information effectively. FPFK needs to continue strengthening the local capacity of the communities to continue handling the issues by building on what had been done through CCMP and CCC. FPFK needs to strengthen and institutionalise partnerships with key organizations so that the collective efforts to curbing FGM are harnessed and effective. There is an increase in the number of girls who are being rescued from circumcision and early marriage, and these need a ‘safe haven’ as relationships with their families are being restored or as they receive required support. Recommendations Overall, the project evaluation shows that FPFK, through the project has made effective inroads into addressing the issue of FGM among the Maasai. Working with the insights above and looking ahead, if FPFK is able to continue the work on AFGM, the following recommendations could be considered: Continue to strengthen localisation of the project interventions by strengthening what has been done so far Partnerships and networking efforts, particularly those between the project and institutions need to be formalised beyond individuals so that the relationship is institutional Considering that FGM is a deeply entrenched cultural ritual, it will be important for future interventions to explore ways of bringing the ‘custodians’ of the Maasai culture, particularly the male elders and old women into the conversations. Women leaders felt that strategies to target and include young men should also be introduced because they are sometimes the perpetrators. d It will be helpful to carry out a baseline that will enable the project to establish key benchmarks in regard to various aspects of the project. In addition, developing a systematic monitoring and learning framework based on the baseline will further enhance effective assessment and documentation of project progress and milestones. it may be helpful to establishing a temporary rescue and counselling centre for those escaping or forced to go through FGM. The women leaders highlighted that the psychological effects of FGM go a long way into people’s lives, even into adulthood. They therefore felt that the church needs to provide such a centre that supports women’s healing. Alternatively, the local churches can explore how to provide space for healing through weekly or monthly activities. Comments from the organisation Pym has learnt a lot from communicating with FPFK leadership and the project leader during and after the evaluation. It is good to register many positive results from the project in the local community and especially among the girls themselves. There is a huge increase in number of girls attending school in the project area and this is continuing after the project finished. The lack of a baseline and the difference that it could have made in both planning, implementation and evaluation is well noted.