MONROVIA, LIBERIA-Traditional leaders and Zoes, in collaboration with the Government of Liberia and International partners, have officially implemented the ban on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation, FGM in Bong County.
Culture Ambassador Julie Endee said:” The decision by traditional leaders and Zoes to implement the ban on Female Genital Mutilation is in the interest of the future generation of Liberian women and girls.”
The Bong County ceremony was a result of traditional engagements on the implementation of the nationwide ban on FGM declared on February 6 this year, in Sonkay Town, by the National Council of Chiefs and Elders, in partnership with government and international partners.
Ambassador Endee said:” The ban will affect the Moa Sande which practices female genital mutilation (FGM), and all other harmless cultural practices will continue across the Country.”
She named eleven counties in Liberia that practice FGM including, Gbarpolu, Cape Mount, Bomi, Montserrado, Bong, Lofa, Margibi, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Rivercess, and Grand Bassa.
Ambassador Endee maintained that traditional and cultural rituals will be carried out in those Counties, to implement the February 6 ban in those areas.
According to Ambassador Endee, the FGM ban in Gbaota, Bong County, will open the door for alternative skills training through the construction of a heritage center as done in Sonkay Town, Montserrado County.
The Heritage centers are built under the European Union Spotlight Initiative which provides alternative livelihoods for former Female Genital Mutilation, FGM practitioners.
Meanwhile, UN-Women Country Representative Comfort Lamptey has stressed the importance of cultural change for the good of all girls and women.
Madam Lamptey paid particular tributes to the traditional leaders and Zoes in Liberia for embracing the change by agreeing to end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation, across the Country.
Speaking in Gbaota, Bong County, Madam Lamptey said:” The decision by Bong County Zoes to implement the FGM ban is a change that will positively impact their children and grandchildren.
Madam Lamptey said the change of ending FGM in Liberia will have a long-term benefit for Liberia, building a better Liberia for girls to allow them to achieve their full potential.
The UN-Women Country Representative lauded the traditional leaders and Zoes for being on the right side of history, by affirming the ban of FGM and by implementing the same in Bong County.
She called for collaborative efforts to ensure that the heritage centers built will benefit and provide alternative livelihood for former FGM practitioners across the Country.
Madam Lamptey vowed the UN-Women’s Commitment to continue working in support of women and former FGM practitioners across the Country.
Madam Lamptey disclosed that the UN-Women will initiate engagements with the Liberian government to ensure money is allotted in the national budget toward supporting Zoes and former FGM practitioners in the Country.