On her first visit to US, Maasai woman to speak about her quest to eliminate female genital cutting
Nice Nailantei Leng'ete
Nice, a 22- year-old Maasai woman, grew up in the remote village of Kimana, nestled in the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya. Born into a pastoral tribe, Nice has spearheaded the elimination of female genital cutting (FGC) and along with AMREF, advocated for the adoption of alternative rites of passage for young Maasai girls.
From orphan to change agent
After her parents both died within a year of each other in 1998, Nice was sent to live with her uncle. At the age of eight, she narrowly escaped being cut herself by running away from home. A lone voice in a male dominated tribe where women were never addressed, let alone listened to, Nice began educating tribal elders and later the Morans, young male warriors, on the harmful effects of female genital cutting. In 2008, her village leaders selected her to become one of the peer educators trained by AMREF's Nomadic Youth Reproductive Health Project.
Having traveled to Amsterdam to give a TEDx talk, Nice is now on her first visit to the United States. Following her address at the Clinton Global Initiative, Nice participated in a number of events open to AMREF supporters.
A female leader in a traditional society
Recognized as a change agent, the chief of the Morans awarded Nice with the 'Esiere', the black walking stick that symbolizes leadership among the Maasai. She has since rescued more than 800 girls from FGC. With AMREF's and the tribe's support, young girls now participate in three-day workshops about sexual health and reproductive rights culminating in a traditional rites of passage celebration with no cutting.
Nice speaking at TEDx Amsterdam
Working with AMREF
Nice was trained as a peer educator in AMREF's Normadic Youth Reproductive Health Project. She then became a project assistant in AMREF's Unite for Body Rights Project. Based in Loitokitok, Kenya, Nice has since been promoted to project officer in the new program, Scaling Up Alternative Rites of Passage, where she will take her message to more young girls in more African communities.