By Lazota Bility
Liberia-September 27, 2023: Liberian Cultural Ambassador and Traditional Queen Julie Endee has indicated that Liberia is on the right path to ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Female Genital Mutilation is a harmful traditional practice that involves the removal injury of external female genital organs for non medical reasons.
UN Women report indicates that there are estimated 50% of women and girls ages between 15 to 40 who have undergone FGM in Liberia. FGM affects the health and reproductive rights of women and girls across the world; thus preventing them from achieving their full potential and rights.
Currently, the Government of Liberia through the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia ( NACCEL ) with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social protection and Ministry of Internal Affairs have Ban FGM practice in two counties, namely Montserrado and Capemount. Cultural Rituals are currently being conducted to ensure the Ban takes effect in the rest of the counties.
According to Madam Julie Endee, though the ban is in two counties, initiation without mutilation will continuously be practiced across the country to ensure the retainment of the Liberian culture.
She added that there are three kinds of Sande society being practiced at the moment, which include: Sande for Muslim, sande for Mask and the sande for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
“We are working very hard to see how best we can Ban and put an End to FGM in Liberia, it has already taken place in two Counties, Montserrado and capemount. It is not an easy task and will never be an easy task but we are trying our best to Ban FGM completely.
Explaining further, the Co-Chair of the Taskforce on FGM, Madam Endee noted that there are some good values within the Liberian culture including the teachings of respect for elders, women managing their homes, traditional dances, fishing, farming and other essential aspects.
“The Sande bush is not just about the practice of FGM, it also teach us to be a better and submissive wives, good singers and a good dancers”.
She added the Banding of the FGM Sande in the world is everyone’s Business.
However, as part of the October 10 elections, Madam Endee disclosed that NACCEL has banned the poro society in all parts of Liberia to ensure the free movement and campaign of all candidates.
She told the gathering that the process to ban FGM entirely will rely on the legal power through a legislation which will allow penalties beyond the traditional definition of the ban.
Madam Endee spoke at the beginning of a two day gender sensitive reporting on FGM organized by the UN Women for journalists.
The training aimed at strengthening journalists’ awareness on FGM as a means of reinforcing their responsibilities on ethical reporting.
Also, the training focused on arming journalists with the right skillset to promote women’s rights, leadership, political participation and ending violence against Women and girls.
Speaking at the beginning of the Workshop, UN Women Country Representative Comfort Lamptey lauded media practitioners for availing themselves to supporting women’s rights through gender sensitive reporting on FGM.
“In all countries rich or poor the issues to stop Violence against women remain our goal over the last 4years is important to see how much progress Liberia had made and I want to Acknowledge the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Cheif Zoe Zanzan Karwor for being Champions in Ending to FGM in Liberia”, she added.
She challenged journalists to ensure a spotlight on issues affecting women and girls beyond the October polls and ensure they join the advocacy to end all forms of violence against women and girls.
Also speaking, Deputy Gender Minister Alice Howard highlighted that the role of the media is crucial to ensuring in achieving in the fight to end FGM in Liberia.
Minister Howard urged Journalists to engage and consult the experts during their reportage around FGM in order to provide concrete information to the public.
“Journalists help to educate and their stories have greater impacts on survivors of FGM. They also have the strength in ensuring a positive impact on the Society”, she said .
The Training takes place from September 27 to September 28, 2023, with over 40 Journalists along with the Ministry Internal Affairs, National Council of Chiefs and Elders (NACCEL) and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social protection.
UN Women is United Nation Organization in Liberia delivering programs , policy and standards that uphold Women’s human rights and ensure that every woman and girl live up to her full potential.