Alternative Rite of Passage

  • P Project/Program

? Activity Status: Unknown

Key Information

More than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). In the region of rural Kenya where we operate, over 70% of women between the ages of 15-49 have undergone some form of FGM/C. FGM/C is traditionally seen as a rite of passage into adulthood that renders girls susceptible to dropping out of school and to early marriage.

Together with our local partner, Tharaka Women's Welfare Programme (TWWP), we have developed a community education and training program called the Alternative Rite of Passage (ARP) to help adolescent girls transition into their young adulthood without the harmful practice of FGM/C. ARP provides girls with an alternative to FGM/C, where they can celebrate their adolescence with a weeklong retreat of singing, dancing, and empowering workshops. In these workshops, girls learn about the harmful effects of genital cutting, reproductive health, personal hygiene, interpersonal communication, relationship building, family life, personal decision-making and confidence building.

Woman role models and community members are invited to participate in the ARP graduation ceremony at the end of the retreat, so they can see the positive influence that the program has on girls’ lives and attitudes. Girls who participate in ARP are more than twice as likely to stay in school and lead healthier lives then girls who undergo FGM/C. Since we began our partnership with TWWP in 2007, over 2,500 young women have participated in the program, contributing to a 40% decrease in the instances of FGM/C in Tharaka-Nithi county, Kenya.

Lead Implementing Organization(s)


Sub-Saharan Africa


Government Affiliation

Non-governmental program


2007 -


Caterpillao Foundation, Manaaki Foundation, Neutrogea, luminAID, Johnson and Johnson, IBM, Global Giving, The Chicago Community, Tharaka Women's Welfare Prokect (TWWP)

Ministry Affiliation



Not applicable or unknown

COVID-19 Response


Geographic Scope


Meets gender-transformative education criteria from the TES  


Areas of Work Back to Top

Education areas


  • Secondary completion

Other skills

  • Life skills/sexuality education
  • Rights/empowerment education


  • School-related gender-based violence


  • Literacy
  • Numeracy

Cross-cutting areas

  • Female genital mutilation/cutting
  • Gender equality
  • Masculinities/boys

Program participants

Target Audience(s)

Boys (both in school and out of school), Community leaders, Fathers, Girls (both in school and out of school), Mothers, Youth


11 - 15

School Enrolment Status

Some in school

School Level

  • Lower primary
  • Upper primary
  • Lower secondary

Other populations reached

  • Community leaders
  • Fathers
  • Mothers
  • Other family members

Participants include

Not applicable or unknown

Program Approaches Back to Top

Community engagement/advocacy/sensitization

  • Community mobilization
  • General awareness-raising/community engagement

Health and childcare services

  • Sexual and reproductive health services (including family planning)

Life skills education

  • Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE)
  • Gender, rights and power
  • Sexual and reproductive health (including puberty education)

Menstrual hygiene management

  • Educating girls about menstruation

Mentoring/psychosocial support

  • Peer mentors


  • Other activities to address/end violence (not captured above)
  • Other activities to end FGM (not captured above)

School-related gender-based violence

  • Anti-violence policies and codes of conduct
  • Violence prevention curriculum/activities for students

Social/gender norms change

  • Engaging parents/caregivers of students or school-age children/adolescents


  • In-service teacher training – gender-responsive pedagogy
  • Pre-service teacher training – gender-responsive pedagogy

Women's empowerment programs

  • Empowerment training
  • Self-help groups (non-financial)

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Program Goals Back to Top

Education goals

  • Improved academic skills (literacy and numeracy)
  • Increased school completion (general)
  • Increased years of schooling

Cross-cutting goals

  • Changed social norms
  • Improved health - other
  • Improved sexual and reproductive health
  • Increased advocacy/civic engagement
  • Increased agency and empowerment
  • More equitable gender attitudes and norms