"To learn how to become familiar with the intimate is to go to the school of ritual again" - Sobonfu Some, The Spirit of Intimacy (Ancient African Teachings in the Ways of Relationships)
Frame one: photos of newspapers from around the world.
In many countries political strife emerges from political decisions around sexual health, rights and responsibilities.
Is it ok for two men, two women or groups of people to enter the ritual of marriage?
Should we allow tribal customs including female circ**cision to continue?
Ritual is a vital and sacred act in cultures around the world, necessary for the people to come together and celebrate passages and milestones.
Sometimes the rituals are dangerous or cruel and there are a few customs that human rights and government leaders feel need to be stopped. Female circ**cision is one that affects thousands of women and can cause severe health issues for those affected.
What do you do when the women of the Kikuyu tribes of Kenya ask you to intervene to stop the practice of clitoridectomy?
For many in Kenya and other countries, attacking the process of female circ**cision is an attack on their entire belief system and culture. Media and human rights initiatives from other countries have reduced the number of clitoridectomies among educated women but over 30% of women in Kenya are still believed to undergo this process by the hands of others in their tribes.
As our agents stuggle with the ethical issues of intervention the layers of the immediate crisis in Kenya become more apparent: power systems are failing, water is drying up and famine is on the horizon.
Is it wise to start a political and cultural rift on top of this growing crisis?
It can be especially difficult for agents in the field to turn the other way when serious needs are all around. In the case of what is known as FGM (female genital mutilation) there is a serious rift already present between the Muslim communities that practice these rituals and the often Christian missionary communities that have condemned the practice as a cruel mutilation.
Adding strife and conflict to a already difficult situation is not advised yet you may lose the trust of your much-needed female leaders if you do not take a stand on this issue. What do you do?