A Bucks University graduate has dedicated the past three months to volunteering in Kenya, warning communities of the risks of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and gender based violence.

Lucinda Newbound has been educating men and women from the Maasai community of the dangers FGM since September in the hope the practice is eventually eliminated altogether.

The 24-year-old is based in a small town called Loitokitok in Kenya where she has been working in a school with a small team of 3 volunteers with girls under 12 who are vulnerable to the practice.

She has also held forums for all members of the community educating them about the risks of FGM including infantile death in childbirth.

Miss Newbound said: “They have high birth mortality rates because 97 percent of women have undergone FGM. They think it is just an inevitability of pregnancy because FGM is normal practice.

“But when they undergo the procedure it scars their tissue which can cause internal bleeding which affects their pregnancy so we have to tell them this can actually be prevented.”

The project is part of ICS, a government funded scheme which aims to fight poverty overseas.

Because education is not a viable option for young Maasai girls, many are married off and inevitably fall victim to FGM according to Miss Newbound.

So the team have also begun building a school or ‘safe haven’ which aims to provide education for girls who are at risk to FGM, and are currently fundraising to provide tables and chairs for the school.

She continued: “For this particular project the wanted people who were passionate about it but wouldn’t let their emotions get the better of them.

“You must be able to separate yourself from what is going on around you which isn’t easy.”

“They have been receptive to it and seem like they are taking it in but it is easy for them to fall back in to what is considered the norm by their culture.

“We need to get to the point where more people across the communities are saying now and that is when everything will change."

Now Miss Newbound, who aims to return to Kenya in the spring, hopes to start selling jewellery made by members of the Maasai community in the UK to provide another source of income for them.