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Agnes Pareyio Named Kenya Director for V-Day, the Worldwide Movement to End Violence Against Women and Girls

10/15/2009

Agnes Pareyio, the internationally recognized leader dedicated to ending female genital mutilation (FGM) in Kenya, has been named Kenya Director for V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.

Ms. Pareyio, who was named the United Nations in Kenya Person of the Year in 2005, has worked with V-Day since 2002. She is the founder and director of the first V-Day Safe House for the Girls, which was established for young women and girls fleeing FGM in Narok, Kenya. The Safe House provides a safe haven for girls escaping from FGM and early marriage - a place where young women can safely celebrate an alternative “rite of passage,” enabling Masai women to follow their tradition without undergoing the cut.

“After witnessing Agnes and the power of her transformative work over 7 years, I am proud and honored that she will now be the director of V-Day in Kenya. Agnes is a force of nature with a vision as strong as her heart and I know that under her leadership she will bring about the day when we know longer know FGM in Masailand,” stated Ensler.

In the summer of 2009, Ms. Paryeio and V-Day opened the second V-Day Safe House in Kenya, the Sakutiek Rescue Center. The house is located in the Rift Valley in Masailand, 100 miles West of Nairobi and next door to two schools facilitating the continued education for the girls who are housed there.

As Kenya Director for V-Day, Agnes will lead efforts across Kenya and Africa, working with activists to further spread the Safe House model and the message of V-Day towards ending violence against women and girls.

“Being part of the V-Day movement, has allowed me to expand my work to end FGM and early marriage and to reach more girls and their communities than I could have imagined,” stated Pareyio. “Knowing that we in Kenya are connected to thousands of V-Day activists around the world inspires us to continue the work we do. I am proud to lead V-Day’s work in Kenya.”

Agnes began her efforts to end FGM by walking from village to village in the Rift valley of Kenya on foot in 2000, educating boys and girls, mothers and fathers about the dangers of the practice. By 2002, Agnes' work had stopped 1,500 girls from being cut and, after V-Day bought her a jeep, Agnes had stopped another 4,500 girls from being cut by 2003.