A change of mindset: An Alternative Rite of Passage


Alternative Rite of Passage Programme

Female circumcision is an age-old custom viewed in some cultures as a transition to adulthood, often carried out at puberty. The consequences are not only emotional and physical, but can result in severe health issues and even fatality.

There is pressure for girls to be married at a young age, with limited education and for the cycle to continue.

By working with the community, Brighter Communities Worldwide aims to instil the message that educated, healthy girls are more valuable to the community, presenting a change in mindset that offers an Alternative Rite of Passage (ARP)

The ARP Programme is led by the communities to which the girls belong and is a five-day lifeskills and cultural training for girls who are at risk of circumcision. It is often run during the month of December when girls return to their homes from boarding schools for the long holidays. 

ARP is part of Brighter Communities Worldwide’s Health and Education Programmes.

Brighter Communities Worldwide have supported the ARP Programme by working with the community to determine the content of the five day training, by drawing from the Lifeskills Programme that Brighter Communities Worldwide have worked with since 2002 and by continuing to support monitoring and evaluating the programme each year. The cost of the programmes run each year are shared between Brighter Communities Worldwide and the community.

Judith's story

This story was told to Harambee volunteer Maura O Malley during conversations with Judith at a Lifeskills Facilitators Workshop held in Londiani in July 2014. Judith was attending to work on finalising three new modules for the Lifeskills Programme.

“My name is Judith and I am 23 years old. I am married and blessed with children. It was approaching December holiday when the school closes in the year 2010. My grandmother wanted me to undergo FGM as a way of ‘keeping the purity of the tribe/community’. On my way to the shop, I saw an announcement written ‘welcome all girls for ARP sponsored by Brighter Communities Worldwide’. I attended the training and learned a lot, graduated within five days and was issued with a certificate and t-shirt. I went back home successful and ceremoniously! Thanks Brighter Communities Worldwide for being my saviour.”

Please support this and Brighter Communities Worldwide’s other programmes by donating here.