"Our pilot is a free mobile outreach, where a team of five members - a doctor, clinical officer, care assistant, nurse and driver - goes into various communities and sets up camp in a room at a local medical centre or in a tent, and invites people to come or bring their children for circumcision," said George Obhai, monitoring and evaluation manager at Marie Stopes Kenya.
Before the mobile team arrives, the local hospital or clinic is contacted to conduct community mobilisation, and on the day every man getting circumcised receives counselling from a trained member of staff before the procedure is carried out.
"Interestingly, many of the ideas people have about male circumcision work in our favour, even among the Luo; for example, people believe that it improves the sexual experience and that ladies prefer circumcised men," he added.
For the more culturally fastidious Turkana, the idea of circumcision will need more time and energy
Obhai noted that male circumcision has not been a hard sell in western Kenya because the Luo, Teso and Suba are surrounded by circumcising communities, and many of them know people who have been circumcised. The HIV prevention benefits it offers also made the practice popular in the region.
In four districts of Nyanza Province, more than 2,700 men have volunteered for circumcision through Marie Stopes since April 2007, and the numbers are increasing every month; 80 percent of the men and boys being circumcised are from traditionally non-circumcising communities.
But this success is not uniform; among the Turkana of northwestern Kenya, an isolated and very traditional society, it has been much harder to push the circumcision agenda.
"When we took the mobile team to Turkana last year, we got two cases on one outreach day, on another day we got three cases," Obhai said. "We pulled out because we simply didn't have the financial resources to justify continuing at the time, but once we are able to set up some more mobile teams we will go back to the region."
Marie Stopes also uses people from within the community as peer educators, and hopes to incorporate the traditional circumcisers into their programmes.
"In the past we have experienced resistance from them [traditional circumcisers], as we are perceived as trying to take away their source of income or their role in society," Obhai said. "For instance, in many areas, this coming August is a circumcising period, so we'd like to encourage them to maintain their role as counsellors and even pay them an allowance for that, but to bring the boys to the clinic for circumcision."
The pilot has been particularly successful in reaching rural populations with little access to modern medical facilities, and prisoners, who also lack access to healthcare. The social mobilisation is also being used as an entry point for education about the traditional ABC - Abstinence, Be faithful and use a Condom - prevention strategy, as well as as an avenue for promoting voluntary counselling and testing.
Marie Stopes' outreach has recorded five complications with the procedure in the year it has been operational - two adverse reactions to the anaesthetic and three post-op infections.
The organisation intends to replicate its mobile outreach across the country following the success of the Nyanza experience.