Experience of Girls Who Leave 'Safe' Houses: After-Effects of Stopping Female Genital Cutting among Kuria of North-Eastern Tanzania


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of Sociology and Anthropology


This study interrogates the effort to eliminate female genital cutting (FGC) among the Kuria of North-Eastern Tanzania by the setting up of 'safe' houses by either international aid agencies or Christian organizations. Little is known about what happens later to such girls and how they are received when and if they return to their communities. Using a qualitative approach and multi-sited ethnography, the problem to be addressed is the relative success and failure of 'safe' houses. This study will analyze findings from participant-observation, life histories, narratives, and interviews with parents, community elders and leaders, and community members to elicit their views on such girls and the 'safe' houses. Moreover, girls will be interviewed about their experiences in the 'safe' house and the extent to which this has been useful or challenging when they return to their community. The analysis will discuss anthropological questions such as the anthropologist’s relationship to respondents and the usefulness of a social-cultural symbolic perspective, but it will also consider the importance of cultural relativism to activism and human rights in understanding discourses on FGC.