Kenyan Anti-FGM crusader awarded by Queen Elizabeth II on International Women’s Day

Jane Mariott with Sadia Hussein
British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Mariott with Sadia Hussein. [Photo: Courtesy]

UK’s Queen Elizabeth II has honoured Kenyan advocate against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Sadia Hussein, as the country marks International Women’s Day.

The Queen awarded Sadia the Commonwealth Points of Light Award for her effort in fighting the vice that has denied score of girls from marginalized communities the joy of womanhood.

British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Mariott while presenting SadiaSadio

“Tireless anti-FGM campaigner Sadia Hussein is an inspiration to us all. Her shining example is needed for to achieve its goal of ending domestic FGM by 2022. It was an honour to preset (sic) @sadearH with the Commonwealth Points of Light Award on #IWD2021, on behalf of The Queen,” Mariott said in a statement on Monday.

Sadia launched her anti-FGM campaign after a harrowing circumcision ordeal when she was 10 years old.

She labored for three days due to a constricted birth canal and it the agony and pain that drove her into anti-FGM advocacy.

The pain would not go away even after delivery; Hussein had to battle it for another 40 days and this relive memories of the knife she was subjected to when still a little girl.

Years later, she launched a solo campaign on anti-FGM in Tana River County where she hails from and a region where FGM is prevalent.

She would go door-to-door preaching the message and before long, she caught the eye of activists and the media who helped spread the message to wider audiences.

Thirteen years later, she acknowledges that it has been a difficult journey but is happy that FGM prevalence in her region and in other communities practicing this has decreased.

In Tana River, for example, she reaches out through various women groups who teach each other on the dangers of FGM.

“I have talked to my daughters and other girls and explained that they are still beautiful, worthy and respected even if they do not undergo female genital mutilation,” Sadia said in a past interview.

FGM leads to obstetric fistula which is common in women who have undergone this archaic cultural rite. They also have to deal with menstrual pain every month.