Alternative Rites of Passage in FGM/C Abandonment Campaigns in Africa: A research opportunity

Laurence Droy, Lotte Hughes, Mark Lamont, Peter Nguura, Damaris Parsitau, Grace Wamue Ngare


Alternative Rites of Passage (ARP) are a relatively recent invention, and a key element in female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) abandonment strategies organised by NGOs in some regions of Africa, particularly East Africa. They aim to replicate traditional initiation rituals for pubescent girls who are transitioning to womanhood, but without FGM/C. This paper briefly describes the genesis of ARP in Kenya since 1996, and discusses its significance as a hybridised cultural assemblage that forms part of new cultural and relational processes. It emphasises the importance of examining the deep context in which ARP takes place, including the traditional ritual that it aims to replace. The paper identifies lacunae in the literature, and potential lines of enquiry for future research. The Appendix includes summaries of a selection of the literature on ARP.

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