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FAHP condemns girls’ initiation

-urges Social Welfare Minister to endorse strategy to reduce FGC

August 25, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

The Forum Against Harmful Practices (FAHP), a coalition of civil society organizations, has strongly condemned the spate of initiation of girls going on across the country, with incidences reported in Port Loko, Tonkolili, Bombali districts, and Western Area Rural and Urban.

The FAHP condemnation came in the wake of the recent death of one Fatmata Turay, a 19-year-old pupil of the UMC Secondary School in Makeni, after her initiation into the female secret society – bondo.

During a presser hosted yesterday in the conference room of the 50/50 Group at Tower Hill, FAHP chairperson Salamatu Martha Kamara said ‘Soweis’ (initiators) were having a field day in conducting initiations with impunity and without checks and balances on their activities.

“We are not against the Bondo society. What we are against is the cutting and the way it is being done. We don’t want our girls to experience what we went through,” she said.

She claimed that very recently in Magburaka, 14 girls, the eldest being 13 and the youngest 4, were initiated and hidden in an unidentified location.

She noted that keeping initiates in an orphanage, which is meant to protect and offer security for children, was criminal and that the government had banned the practice of initiating girls below 18 or without their consent.

Madam Kamara called on Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Dr. Sylvia Blyden, to take immediate steps to approve and endorse the national strategy for the reduction of Female Genital Circumcision (FGC), which had been with her for a couple of months now.

She said they were disappointed and frustrated by the fact that the document, which was developed by the ministry and validated by stakeholders after thorough discussions, was yet to be approved by the minister.

We couldn’t get a reaction from the minister, who has engrossed in a public spat with her deputy, Rugiatu Neneh Turay, over the controversial issue of female genital cutting.

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