UYAHF Adolescents' Health Clinic

From ridiculing girls about FGM to being an anti-FGM advocate, Khaleb shares how the Power To Youth (PTY) program has changed his.

Khaleb (right) leads a school outreach session on the 'Health risks of FGM' organised by UYAHF under the Power To Youth program.

“In the community, my fellow boys always pointed to FGM pain as the best way a stubborn girl would be disciplined, and at school whenever a girl does something funny, I always said FGM will tame you, just wait for your time” Khaleb stated.

Khaleb,18 a senior six student of Amanang secondary school in Bukwo district is like many other young boys and men who have grown up in a community predominantly accustomed to the harmful practice of FGM. He knew FGM was a passage to womanhood and that at one point if he were to marry, his grandmother would scout for him a mutilated woman.

He says as a young boy, it was regarded as a pride to marry mutilated women and act out of stubbornness, he also knew that the excruciated pain during the procedure in a certain way instills discipline and calmness in girls and would turn the stubborn ones to more polite hence better wives.

“You know being a man in the community when your wife is mutilated is a pride, you would have privileges and opportunities to rub shoulders with the elders. This is what I grew up knowing. However, when a team from UYAHF under the Power To Youth started visiting our school a lot has now changed” Khaleb revealed.

He has been part of our PTY school outreaches in Bukwo led by the youth advocates on challenging the myths and misconceptions around Female Genital mutilation, and also raising awareness about the harmful practice and other Sexual reproductive health rights challenges faced by young people.

“Our teacher Brian one day mobilized some students including those of senior six whom I was part of for a meeting. During the meeting, they talked about the dangers of FGM. At first, I had a mixed reaction to the information he was sharing because, in my village, elders said good things about it including preventing women from cheating” Khaleb narrated.  

However, following repeated outreaches including rising awareness not only around FGM but other harmful practices like child marriages and SGBV, Khaleb has turned to be one of the SRHR champions in his school, and an advocate against FGM in his village and among his peers.

 “I have been part of all the outreaches at school here and it has helped me understand how harmful the FGM practice is to our girl’s health. I have come to know many dangerous things about FGM. After being told some of the dangers like complications during birth and destroying the female reproductive system, I looked for articles about FGM and read more so I proved that it’s not good and this motivated me to start raising awareness about its dangers to my fellow peers with whom we initially supported FGM” explained Khaleb.

He now holds and leads weekly sessions on Sexual reproductive health with his fellow students with the support of their school-teacher Mr. Kapyango Brian, who is also a PTY Youth advocate. They discuss several SRHR topics in their free days including menstrual hygiene, preventing teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse and SGBV, and dangers of harmful practices; like FGM and child marriage.

I am grateful to Power To Youth for always coming to our school to teach us about our sexual reproductive health and impacting me with the knowledge that I am using to change my community’s thinking about FGM and other harmful practices.”