Over 2,000 boys will benefit from a free circumcision programme initiated by the Murang’a county government.
The programme that was started on Sunday is targeting boys from disadvantaged families who were unable to undergo the rite of passage in private facilities.
According to governor Mwangi wa Iria, the programme is part of a youth mentorship programme that the county government started in 2013 that seeks to provide guidance to young boys as they graduate into adulthood.
Wa Iria said the county government is partnering with some local churches and elders in the programme that will run for nine days in 13 centres that are spread across the county.
The governor noted that the county started the programme to deny criminals the chance to mentor initiates from poor families into criminal activities.
He said previously, criminal gangs took advantage of poverty to sponsor the initiation of boys who could not afford to pay for the services in private facilities.
“That is how young men used to be introduced into crime and drug abuse, and their lives destroyed at a tender age,” the governor said.
The governor explained that the programme will go a long way into turning boys especially from single parents families into responsible adults through the mentorship programme.
Speaking to The Star on Wednesday, Wa Iria attributed the rise of illegal gangs such as the Mungiki sect that wreaked havoc in the county a few years ago to the lack of such mentorship programmes.
The programme, he noted, was purposely started after others had concluded theirs to ensure only needy boys benefit.
He dismissed a section of locals who have castigated the county government for implementing the programme saying the prime role of devolution is to empower the lives of locals.
“This programme is aimed at helping the less fortunate in the society and guiding them towards become responsible mmbers of the community,” he added.
He said through the mentorship programme, initiates who will be unable to join secondary schools will be enrolled for free technical courses in local polytechnics.
Boys with special needs have been given a priority in the programme. At Kabati Academy centre in Kandara, 5 disabled boys aged between 13 and 18 years have undergone the free cut amongst 173 other initiates.
Another set of over 2,000 boys benefited from the programme last year.