December 1, 2016 By Hawa Amara
A national youth network to help and guide young girls achieve their educational dreams, as well as vulnerable women to realise their roles and responsibilities in ensuring that the country become a better community for girls and women was on Tuesday launched.
The National Youth Anti-FGM Network is a global initiative that operates in Nigeria, Kenya and The Gambia of which Sierra Leone is a partner.
While launching the network at the Atlantic Hall, Siaka Steven Stadium, Youth Empowerment Officer at the National Youth Commission, Jemilatu Jalloh noted that the female genital cutting was a global issue.
She spoke about the challenges faced by many organisations in their quest to put an end to the FGM practice and pledged the commission’s support towards the campaign.
She called for the creation of a platform on the social medial in order to extend the campaign far and wide.
Earlier, the network representative, Binta Bah stated that the network was a consortium of various youth organisations that have worked in different capacities and decided to put their efforts together to preach against gender based violence.
She opined that early child initiation was still a challenge and eradicating it could be critical, adding, “The network will organise inter-school debate between primary schools and secondary school and quiz competition in various communities to end early child initiation.”
According to her, child initiation was a practice that is going on within different communities and that it is a violation of the right of the child.
“I am calling on civil right activists, donors and the media to partner with us in order to help eradicate this bad practice,” she urged.
Also, Chief Executive Officer of Alliance for Women Organization, Nelly Gray said: “FGM is a harmful practice in the society. My organization is standing firm to put an end to this practice. Youth should be the agent of change and explain to community people about harmfulness of the practice.”
She claimed that mutilation of the organs can lead to complication of women when giving birth and therefore urged the youth to educate their pairs about the dangers of FGM.
On her own part, Sgt. Aminata Bangura from the Family Support Unit of the Sierra Leone police maintained that there was no law in the country preventing the practice of FGM.
In a bid to reduce crime against children below 18 years of age, she recommended on behalf of the FSU for a law to be in place in order to abolish the FGM practice.