Network AID seek the welfare and well-being of illiterate women/girls, young people, persons with disability and deprive children to have a healthy, safe, inclusive and corrupt-free society where they are recognized, respected and identity protectedNetwork AID - Publications
Network AID28 Feb 2022

End Harmful Practices Equality Now Engages Government and Other Stakeholders to End FGM 

The sustained campaign to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) championed by the Amazonian Initiative Movement with Rugiatu Neneh Turay as the Lead Campaigner has taken a different dimension.  

Reinvigorated by the death of an initiate in the secret female Bondo Society in December 2021, Asenath Mwithigah, the Global Lead, End Harmful Practices Equality Now, an international organization working in Africa, Middle East, Europe and the Americas on Friday 25th February 2022 ... held discussions with Government officials including the Minister of Gender Affairs, Madam Manty Tarawalie, the Solicitor-General,  Robert Kowa, the Human Rights Commission, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the Police and other stakeholders to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Sierra Leone asserting that the discussions were very welcoming.

The position of End Harmful Practices Equality Now is zero-tolerance to FGM and suggested that the Government of Sierra Leone criminalizes FGM for all ages to accelerate the process of abandoning the practice in the country.

End Harmful Practices Equality Now supports partner organizations and Governments to gradually end FGM as it was reaffirmed that they are willing to form partnerships.

Asenath Mwithigah further revealed that the Government of Sierra Leone has pledged to review the Child Rights Act, end Child Marriage as well as include FGM in the school curriculum among others, all aimed at ending FGM for minors and reiterated the need to hold discussions with all stakeholders to reach a common ground on the issue.

She informed that the position of the Government of Sierra Leone is that it is willing to end FGM and clarified that her organization forms partnerships with CSOs on the ground to end FGM, disclosed that they also held discussions with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Women, Purposeful Production, the Amazonian Initiative Movement and WAVES among other CSOS in Sierra Leone.

Asenath Mwithigah, "FGM is a human rights violation, pointing out that the death of the woman is one of such cases while many others are unreported underscoring that three suspects were arrested by the Police and released for lack of sufficient evidence, that there is a huge disconnect between investigation and prosecution and underscored the vital role of CSOs to end the practice that cannot be eliminated now but gradually and continued that people in the provinces, where the practice is widespread, must be continually sensitized".

She also stated that "there is a lot of correlation between Sierra Leone and Kenya on FGM although there are different types of FGM practiced in Kenya and observed that women are angry that FGM, that used to be a taboo, is now discussed in the open", suggested that Sierra Leone should proffer alternatives to the practice and asserted that poverty plays a key role to promote FGM.   

End Harmful Practices Equality Now also organized a training for CSOs at the Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown while the delegation similarly visited Kenema District where they are supporting a local CSO, Defense for Children International to end FGM and conducted radio interviews/discussions with Sky Radio, Radio Democracy and the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation as well as the print media.

Credit: Rugiatu Nenneh Turay

*(C) The Calabash Newspaper*

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Network AID seek the welfare and well-being of illiterate women/girls, young people, persons with disability and deprive children to have a healthy, safe, inclusive and corrupt-free society where they are recognized, respected and identity protected