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Miss World 2017 visit to Kenya in anti-FGM campaign boost

(From Left) 15 year old Florence Naserian, Miss World Kenya/Africa 2016 Evelyn Njambi and 18 year old Christine Pisoi make a beaded wall hanging when Miss Njambi visited the House of Hope Rescue Centre to mentor them on unique income generating opportunities through interior design. The home which hosts about 50 girls fleeing Female Genital Mutilation is situated in Narok County, one of the FGM hotspots in the country. The Miss Njambi has been supporting the fight against FGM by mentoring young women and girls/COURTESY/MWK

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 27 – Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar, alongside Julia Morley, Miss World Chair and the founder of Beauty with a Purpose ambassador program, is slated to visit Kenya from May 8 to 13, 2018.

The purpose of their joint visit is to weigh in on Kenya’s fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) while promoting feminine hygiene among young girls.

During their four-day visit, the beauty icons will tour various charities among them House of Hope Rescue Centre in Narok County, where the Beauty with a Purpose program has made significant impact in improving the lives of girls rescued from FGM prone environments.

They will also be hosted to a gala dinner set to be graced by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public Service Youth and Gender Affairs Prof. Margaret Kobia. The event, comprising government and private sector stakeholders, will celebrate champions against FGM such as members of the media, social entrepreneurs, social media influencers as well as men who have strongly advocated for the rights of girls.

Miss World Kenya Franchise Director Terry Mungai noted that their visit comes at an opportune time when the country has made significant strides on the gender agenda. She added that the tour also creates an opportunity for tourism investment in Kenya, as the country aggressively pushes to host Miss World Global Competition.

“The Miss World Beauty with a Purpose mission this year is to bring Kenya closer to achieving the Global Goal of Gender Equality, mainly advocating against FGM while promoting feminine hygiene among girls. We are happy that Miss World is coming soon after President Uhuru Kenyatta zero rated sanitary towels. As a country, we have also seen tremendous progress in reducing the prevalence of FGM. Their visit sends out a strong message that our country is committed to upholding the rights of women and girls,” said Terry.

“Over the 15 years of participating in the Miss World Beauty pageant, Kenya has been on a record-breaking trend at the global competition, having clinched the Miss World Africa Title two times in a row, and winning in the Beauty with a Purpose category more than three times. Miss Evelyn Njambi (2016) from Kiambu County and Magline Jeruto (2017) from Elgeyo Marakwet are the latest to have put Kenya on the global map, eliciting a visit by Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar. Having two Continental Queens consecutively, and adding a Global Queen boosts the tourism sector in Kenya, while also increasing our chances of hosting the Miss World Global Competition.”

According to a UNICEF report, Kenya stands at 21 per cent prevalence of FGM against other African countries. Now, only one in five girls may have undergone some kind of FGM, with the practice remaining high among the Kisii, Somali, Maasai and Samburu communities.

On the issue of menstrual health, over 900,000 girls miss up to four days of school when they are on their period because they don’t have access to menstrual hygiene products. In the 2017/2018 financial year, Kenya budgeted Sh500 million for the sanitary towels, a significant increase from the previous year’s budget that stood at Sh400 million.

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