The girls in GESL decided to take on a national issue relevant to the needs of girls, that they wanted to raise awareness on. The girls decided to focus on educating their peers on the negative impacts of FGM through an advocacy media campaign. This blog showcases pieces by two of the girls in GESL, Finda Karimu and Fatamta Bah. The GESL girls are raising awareness via social media and other platforms on their project titled “FGM E do So” (FGM Enough!). We hope you are inspired by Finda and Fatmata’s reflection.
A Reflection by Finda Karimu on Female Genital Mutilaton
FGM, which means Female Genital Mutilation, normally called Bondo Society in Sierra Leone. Bondo originated from Egypt. Bondo is a dangerous process especially for under age children under the age of 18 years. We are asking that parents who are forcing their children to go through Bondo society to please stop because Bondo has no positive effect, but has lots of negative effects. Those who go through Bondo can get excessive bleeding, infections, blindness, urinary track infection and many other effects. We are asking all those who have gone to through the Bondo process and those who haven’t gone through the process to come together and fight to stop Bondo in Sierra Leone.
We don’t want to be a product of our circumstances, but a product of our decisions. 90% of our parents are forcing us to go to Bondo and forcing us to go to Bondo is a violation of our human rights and today we stand to stop Bondo. If your parent is forcing you to go to Bondo, you should be polite and talk to them and tell them that you don’t want to go to Bondo. IF they refuse to listen, don’t be afraid to stand for what you believe. Even if you are standing alone, remember that others are there fighting with you and they are willing and ready to stop Bondo.
I also want you to know that Bondo is not in the bible or Quran. Have self-confidence and stand up to minimize Bondo in Sierra Leone. We as a people can say no to Bondo. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter in Sierra Leone. We need to fight against FGM in Sierra Leone.
My National Project Experience by Fatmata Bah
When we had our community outreach, which involved Primary School Children, it turned out successful. All of the children who came were happy to learn about FGM (commonly known as "Bondo"). When they came, we enlightened them about our project and then we explained to them a little bit more about FGM, and they got to know about its effects from our G2G women mentors - that it can kill, cause fistula, internal bleeding, etc. We asked the girls what they think of FGM and they were saying "it is our culture". We told them that it originated from Egypt and that it is only practiced in Sierra Leone They told us that they never want to be part of it and that they will help us pass the message to their peers. Hearing that was positive feedback for us. One of the girls' moms was a journalist and she liked what we were doing and helped us pass the message through a radio station. They decided that if anyone forces them to go through it they will go the police station or elders in their communities or reach out to us....it was really a successful one.
This post is a series of reflections from the girls in Girls Enpowerment Sierra Leone. GESL nurtures and enhances the leadership skills of young girls
to become effective advocates and social change agents in their communities. For more on the work of GESL and our girls visit www.girlsempowermentsummitsl.org