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Kenyan Maasai women gather during a meeting dedicated to the practice of female genital mutilation. (SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Milk and honey

In some communities, alternative rites of passage replace female genital mutilation

By WITW Staff on February 29, 2016

At least 200 million women alive today have experienced female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice without medical benefit that has been described as “violent” by the United Nations and can leave women with health complications that lead to death. According to NPR, some communities and cultures are moving away from the ritual, like Maasai in Kenya, and Samburu, Tanzania, where celebrations instead include a mixture of milk and honey poured over the girl’s heads before special dishes, songs and dances are shared. Some of these new ceremonies have included more than 1,000 girls, Peter N. Nguura of United for Body Rights said, adding that to ditch FGM for other practices,  a public denouncement of the practice from village elders and promises from men to marry women who have not undergone the procedure are often made.

In these communities, girls are prepped for the ceremony with lessons in womanhood: sex education, information about STDs and violence against women and presentations on the importance of women’s education, NPR said.

Read the full story at NPR.