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Promoting Peace and Preventing Girl Circumcision through Athletics and Sporting Activities

With funding from the Austrian Ministry of Sports through Caritas Austria, Caritas Marsabit is embarking on a transformative one-year initiative in Marsabit County. Named Angaza, meaning Illuminate, the project aims to promote peace and combat the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) among the pastoral and agropastoral communities inhabiting Marsabit County in Kenya.

Through a strategic focus on sports, including athletics, football, and volleyball, Angaza seeks to foster unity among communities plagued by inter-ethnic strife while addressing the concerning rates of FGM in the region. By harnessing the power of sports to promote inclusivity and empower marginalized groups, particularly individuals with disabilities, Caritas aims to instigate lasting change within the community.

The project targets participants from the three largest communities in Marsabit: Gabra, Borana, and Rendile, and schoolchildren in primary and secondary schools within the designated areas. Angaza will host sports events across three pairs of target locations between:

1.   Kargi – Maikona

2.     Bubisa – Gororukesa and

3.     Badasa – Leai

The selection of these communities is strategic, considering the historical tensions and resource rivalry among them, leading to political instability in the county. Root causes of conflicts include competition over scarce resources such as water, pasture, and land, widespread economic marginalization, and politically motivated manipulation of ethnic loyalties.

In this context, men typically plan and execute attacks, while women may support through various roles such as instigation, chants, and provision of aid to fighters. Additionally, FGM remains a deeply entrenched issue, violating fundamental human rights despite being illegal in Kenya. Marsabit County is identified as a high-risk cluster for the prevalence of FGM, with alarming statistics indicating that approximately 92% of women in the district have undergone genital mutilation.

In addressing these challenges, Angaza also emphasizes the inclusion of people with disabilities, who have traditionally been marginalized in decision-making processes and have limited participation in sporting activities due to prevailing myths, low societal expectations, and safety concerns. Moreover, women and young people have historically played minimal roles in peace promotion and decision-making.

Caritas Marsabit intends to utilize sports as a vehicle for development and social change, leveraging the Angaza project to enhance fitness, tolerance, respect, and team spirit among participants. The project encompasses two main activities: the training of champions in peacebuilding and anti-FGM efforts, followed by integrated ball sports events.

Scheduled events include football and walking football, volleyball and Mamanet, and athletics, each targeting different community members, including women, girls, young men, and people with disabilities, from February to October 2024.

Capacity-building efforts have already commenced, with coaching and training sessions facilitated by reputable sports associations such as the Corinthians Athletics Association and local sports organizations in Marsabit district. The identification and training of 30 Peace and 30 Anti-FGM champions further solidify the project's commitment to sustainable change and community empowerment.


The Angaza Peace and Anti-FGM Sports project, spearheaded by Caritas Marsabit, is a transformative initiative aimed at fostering unity, promoting peace, and combating the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) among the pastoral and agropastoral communities in Marsabit County, Kenya. By harnessing the power of sports as a tool for development and social change, the project seeks to address several interconnected challenges facing the region.

Firstly, the project acknowledges the deep-seated inter-tribal conflicts and historical tensions among the Gabra, Borana, and Rendile communities. These conflicts, fueled by competition over scarce resources and exacerbated by economic marginalization and political manipulation, have perpetuated a cycle of violence and instability in the region. Through strategic sports events and activities, Angaza aims to promote unity and cohesion among these communities, fostering mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence.

Secondly, the project confronts the alarming prevalence of FGM in Marsabit County, where approximately 92% of women have undergone genital mutilation despite its illegality. By training and mobilizing champions in anti-FGM efforts, Angaza seeks to challenge harmful cultural norms and practices, empower women and girls, and raise awareness about the physical, psychological, and social consequences of FGM. Sporting events provide a platform for engaging community members in dialogue and education on sensitive topics related to sexual and reproductive health, human rights, and gender equality.

Moreover, Angaza prioritizes the inclusion of marginalized groups, particularly people with disabilities, who have traditionally been excluded from decision-making processes and sporting activities. By providing opportunities for participation in sports such as walking football and athletics, the project aims to combat stigma, promote self-confidence, and foster social integration among individuals with disabilities.

Through a comprehensive approach that combines capacity-building, community engagement, and sports-based interventions, Angaza seeks to illuminate a path toward sustainable peace, gender equality, and social inclusion in Marsabit County. By empowering local champions and leveraging the unifying power of sports, the project endeavors to create lasting change and promote the well-being of all community members, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or ability.

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