A local non-governmental organization (NGO), the Girls Alliance for Future Leadership, which focuses on the protection and advancement of teenage girls, has called on the Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary branches of government to abolishing the age-old practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country.
Addressing students attending the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion University on Benson Street, the entity’s secretary-general, Faith Saar, said it was about time the government of Liberia secures the future of girls in all parts of the country, “because they are the next leaders.”
Ms. Saar, a teenager herself, said harmful traditional practices are destroying the educational pursuits of girls, thereby leading them to early marriage that have resulted to many of them becoming mothers at an early age.
Saar said due to the harmful practice, there is a high rate of out of school women and girls who are roaming the streets. She suggested that every Liberian girl write President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf asking her to seek their interest through which they will acquire quality education.
She also called on President Sirleaf not to sign into law the domestic Violence Bill without the provision to end the practice of FGM, calling on her to consider the future of the girls who are the victims.
“We are calling on every average Liberian to take their pen and paper and write a letter to President Sirleaf informing her that FGM is an evil practice that the government needs to put an end to so as to secure the future of girls and women,” Saar said.
Maima Robinson, executive director of Women Against FGM, who served as the keynote speaker, recalled how she became the offspring of an unwanted pregnancy and suffered a lot during childhood because she grew up in a broken home that exposed her to her uncle who reportedly raped her.
Madam Robinson explains her life story to dozens of girls: “The only way the practice of the FGM can stop is for all women and girls to stand strong against harmful traditional practices.”
“Because I could not find a space in my mother’s or daddy’s home, my education was delayed. I suffered many ugly things that a young girl should not have gone through,” Madam Robinson told her audience.
She explained further that her marriage ended because she was “not mutilated” causing her children to grow up in a broken home as she had experienced.
Madam Robinson challenged the Girls Alliance for Future Leadership to be strong and stand up for what they want, adding that the only thing the girls should maintain at all times is their integrity.
She said FGM is a violation of the rights of girls the government needs to bring to an immediate end if the future of girls must be protected.
She called on the lawmakers to put aside their political differences and pass a bill that will protect young girls.