By Rochelle M. Richards, UL Mass Communication Department
The Liberia National Rural Women Structure (LNRWS), which has a membership of over 77,000 across the country, has agreed to support the National Traditional Council of Liberia in order to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
FGM, or female genital cutting, as practiced in Liberia, was customarily practiced by most ethnic groups prior to the outbreak of civil war in late 1989 and has continued since.
Some estimates are that in rural areas, approximately 50 percent of the female population between the ages of 8 and 18 had undergone this procedure before the civil war began. It was practiced within some but not all of Liberia’s ethnic groups.
At a recent press conference in Monrovia, Madam Kebbeh Mengor, president of LNRWS, said it is important that the international community has finally taken the right path to work with key players in order to end the practice of FGM across the country.
Madam Mengor said her organization has promised to work with the Traditional Council, to carry on awareness about the danger that FGM poses to the future of women and girls.
She said if people are really educated about the dangers of FGM, they will put an end to the harmful practice.
“Those that are involved in this harmful traditional practice are using it as a means of livelihood for their families. So if the international community must succeed in ending it, they must be willing to replace FGM with other life skills training programs, business development and educate the children about how to read and write so as to change their minds, like Mama Toma Village in Brewerville,” she said.
Madam Mengor said rural women have more knowledge on how to engage traditional zoes, along with the traditional council, because they are also members of the society.
In the observance of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), members of the National Traditional Council of Liberia (NTCL) on Wednesday, February 6, committed themselves to end the practice of FGM.
FGM has been defined by the World Organization (WHO) as all procedures involving the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.