Village Elders Meeting in Kenya in traditional dress. Elders are considered custodians of culture and Mekuno Project's partners aim to engage these community leaders as part of our holistic approach.

Impacts of COVID-19

COVID-19 has made the need for action even more pressing: An additional 2 million girls globally are projected to be at risk of undergoing FGM by 2030 and an additional 10 million girls are at risk of child marriage by 2030 as a result of the pandemic. The interlocking economic, social, and political effects of COVID-19 threaten years worth of progress.

 

In Kenya specifically, with the closure of schools, an additional 2 million people were pushed into poverty. The appeal of child marriage’s financial benefits puts girls at significant risk, and the stunting of their formal education will likely have implications for future generations: Mothers with fewer years of schooling have generally not had as many opportunities to be exposed to their own rights and personal agency, and are therefore more likely to encourage their daughters to undergo FGM or be married off early. Lastly, the lack of social contact brought about by the pandemic removes community accountability measures, making the enforcement of child protection more difficult.