/ Community Based Partner
Aniceta is instrumental in connecting with community leaders and the adult literacy group teachers. As the founder of The Tharaka Women's Welfare Program, Aniceta is the mastermind behind the Alternative Rite of Passage. The ARP is instead of Female Genital Mutilation, a tradition in the region. Her work has changed the hearts and minds of so many girls, women, and their families. She has changed the trajectory of thousands of girls. Because of her work, many have second degrees and successful careers. Aniceta promotes the basket making project as a potential source of income for the women in the adult literacy groups. Because of her work, there has been a major increase in members within Tharaka Nithi County.
My name is Aniceta Kiriga, and my life has been a tapestry of experiences woven with threads of hope, determination, and a deep commitment to empowering others. Born in a small village in Kenya in 1950, my early years were shaped by the challenges of rural life. I was the fourth of seven children, and my parents instilled in me the values of hard work and community from a young age.
Education was my beacon of hope. I vividly remember those long walks to school, often without shoes, and the countless hours spent studying by the dim light of a kerosene lamp. My parents, despite their meager means, believed in the power of education and made incredible sacrifices to ensure that I and my siblings received an education. I knew that this was my ticket to a better future, not just for myself but for my family and community.
Becoming the first person in my family to attend college was a milestone that required immense determination. I pursued a degree in social work, driven by a desire to make a difference in the lives of those who
As I look back on my journey, I am humbled by the impact I have had on my community and the world. But I am also reminded that there is still much work to be done. The struggle for justice and equality continues, and it is a journey we must undertake together.
My life's story is a testament to the belief that one person's determination can lead to profound and lasting change. It is a reminder that even in the face of adversity, hope and perseverance can illuminate the path forward. I hope that my journey inspires others to stand up for what they believe in and to dedicate themselves to making the world a better place. Together, we can create a future where every individual has the opportunity to thrive and reach their fullest potential.
hardships like my own family did. Little did I know then that this was just the beginning of a lifelong journey of service.
“This needs to end,” I said to myself when I saw the drips of blood flowing down the legs of a dying girl who just got circumcised. Coming from a community where FGM was not the social norm, I was beyond frightened seeing what was happening in what is my home now, Tharaka-Nithi. FGM, or Female Genital Mutilation, is the practice of removing partial or complete parts of the female genital organs and was considered a necessary part of raising a girl – a way to prepare her for adulthood and marriage. It was believed that such removal would help control her sexuality and, essentially, promote premarital virginity and marital fidelity (“Female Genital Mutilation”). While FGM is now recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, it was worth being boasted about back then.
My career in social work allowed me to immerse myself in the world of community development. I worked tirelessly to address the pressing issues facing marginalized communities, particularly women and children. From advocating for access to healthcare and education to combating gender-based violence, I was determined to bring about positive change.
One of the defining chapters of my life was my advocacy against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Growing up in a community where FGM was prevalent, I witnessed firsthand the physical and emotional scars it left on girls and women. This practice had to end, so I began educating my community about the dangers of FGM, often facing resistance and even threats. But I persevered, and over time, more and more families began to see the harm in this tradition. We offered support to those who wished to abandon the practice and gradually succeeded in reducing its incidence in our region.
Empowering women and girls became the driving force behind my work. I founded programs that provided vocational training, financial literacy, and access to healthcare, transforming the lives of countless women in underserved areas. My efforts extended beyond Kenya, as I collaborated with international organizations to advocate for gender equality and women's rights on a global scale.