In Samburu County Kenya, 90% of women have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) and 38% were married before they were 18 years old. This is because the Samburu tribe – nomadic pastoralists whose way of life revolves around their cattle – traditionally practice both FGM and child marriage.
The two practices are linked. When a girl (typically between 8-15 years old) undergoes FGM, she is considered ready to be married off, often to a much older man. Girls are also expected to drop out of school once they are married, which is reflected in the low enrollment rates for girls in secondary school in Samburu County.