Interview with Samuel Siriria Leadismo
‘Leadismo is Samburu, a semi-nomadic pastoralist farming people related to the Maasai. Leadismo’s organization believes the Kenyan government’s law-enforcement approach to stopping FGM (the country banned it in 2011) is not effective, and alienates communities who then practice FGM ‘under cover.’ His group instead emphasizes girls’ and women’s empowerment, human rights, and education as a means to end this horrible practice.’
“Without education there is no way that we can eradicate FGM because there is no way that those girls will speak for themselves,” Leadismo told Humanosphere.
“We want to give girls education; we want to empower them; we want to give them knowledge to speak for themselves.”
‘Initially the community was hostile to Leadismo, believing that he was trying to change the Samburu culture beyond recognition. He talks about how the elders in his community – who are the decision-makers in the community – used to threaten him. But by educating people and promoting alternative rites of passage that honor some of the same traditions, Leadismo says they are making progress against FGM.’