Anti-FGM activist Nice Nailantei Leng’ete
Nice Nailantei Leng’ete is a Project Officer with Amref Health Africa in Kenya, where she works with Maasai communities to end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM, also known as Female Genital Cutting or FGC). In early 2018, Nice’s work was recognised by TIME Magazine, which listed her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
FGM/C is not only physically and psychologically harmful; it’s often directly linked to child marriage and a lack of education for girls. Although the practice was made illegal in Kenya in 2011, the law is not always enforced, leaving thousands of girls subjected to ‘the cut’ every year.
Nice was just eight years old when she ran away from her home in the village of Noomayianat to avoid having to undergo FGM/C. When she was caught, Nice endured beatings and faced social stigma – but she persisted, and eventually convinced her grandfather, a Maasai elder, to allow her to escape ‘the cut’ and continue her schooling.
Today, 27-year-old Nice works with communities like hers to eliminate FGM/C and replace it with ‘Alternative Rites of Passage’ (ARP) ceremonies that allow communities to celebrate girls’ transition to womanhood without causing them harm.
“I have seen too many women and girls, too many friends, have their dreams taken away from them.
Harmful practices have impacted their lives, and they can never get those days back. I’ll continue to fight until no Maasai girl has to undergo FGM/C. Every young girl in Kenya can become the woman of her dreams. I am, for sure.”
Nice Nailantei Leng’ete
Since 2009, more than 16,000 girls in Kenya and Tanzania have transitioned to womanhood via ‘Alternative Rites of Passage’ ceremonies, allowing them to finish their education, marry when they feel ready to, and achieve their ambitions. Nice’s story illustrates what can happen when a young woman claims her human rights and takes control of her future. She is one of thousands of courageous young women fighting for their own rights, and those of their friends and peers - and paving the way for the next generation.
“FGM and child marriage will end in Africa because of the likes of Nice.”
Jaha Dukureh, CEO and founder of Safe Hands for Girls, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee.