Remembering Jelida

Jelida Gaichuiri 14,  died at Mwanika in Igembe Central on December 2018. She will be laid to rest exactly three months after she succumbed to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) complications. According to a postmortem carried out by Dr Michael Kariuki,, the 14-year-old died from Cardiorespiratory arrest. This was caused by severe pneumonia and sepsis from the infection of the FGM wound.

Before the intervention of the Njuri Ncheke elders from Meru County, the family had disowned the body. “Meru traditions,” they said, “do not allow burying of any person that has not had children.”

Jelida therefore became a bad omen and could not be buried. She was to be abandoned in the Morgue and eventually disposed of by the hospital.

On Thursday, the 15th of March 2019, the online Campaign, #FGMKilledJelida, that has brought awareness on the case will go to Igembe, Meru county, on a memorial service for the girl. It is significant that a memorial monument shall be unveiled at the Njuri Ncheke headquarters as a reinforcement of the commitment the elders have had to end the vice in the Ameru community.

The Ameru council of elders had abolished the practice in the 1950s and reinforced their stand in the early 2000s.

Here are more links to help you understand this story


  1. Citizen TV’s story by Victoria Rubadiri
  2. The Daily Nation’s article on Jelida’s demise  
  3. Ann Wambui’s reflictions at Mtoto Newc
  4. #FGMKilledJelida on Twitter


Jeremiah Kipainoi is a multimedia journalist and fellow, Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. His background in journalism has drawn him into telling human-interest stories, using media as an agent of change.

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