An agreement stating that girls under 18 will not undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) in Sierra Leone was recently signed by village chiefs and other community leaders, including women who perform FGM. The agreement affects the Kambia district, which is in the northernwestern part of the country.

At puberty, the majority of girls in Sierra Leone are initiated into the Bondo Society, a secret society of women that uses circumcision to initiate new members abducted the women. Gloria Bella, of Sierra Leone’s Human Rights Commission, told IRIN, “community leaders feel that [initiation] is their culture, they feel offended by lobbyists, and don’t listen…We need to listen to their fears and try to allay them, and make sure they know we are not coming in to challenge traditional authority.” John Marah, who works against FGM in Sierra Leone through local NGOs, also told IRIN “We are against just the cutting, not the training. You can still have a rite of passage. It’s just a change of mentality.”


More details and source here.

Comments

  1. #1 Michael
    April 18, 2009

    I saw a doco that touched on the women who perform FGM in Sierra Leone, about a successful reeducation program there. They talked to a woman who used to do this and the saddest part of her story is that a lot of the women who perform the FGM feel like they have no choice economically — because of the respect they get for the job, it’s financially so much more rewarding than any other work they can do (unless they learn to read and write).

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