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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

In Sierra Leone, Lunsar Residents Schooled on Dangers of FGM

December 1, 2009

By Augustine Samba, Awareness Time - Sierra Leone News & Information

A number of residents of Lunsar Town in the Marampa Chiefdom, Port Loko District last Wednesday benefited from a one-day training workshop on Female Genital Mutilation otherwise known as (FGM) its related issues. Female Genital Mutilation is the removal of all or part of the female clitoris.

The training which was organized by the Port Loko District Development Organization (PLDDO) in the Ebenezer Church hall in Lunsar was attended by local authorities, heads of secret societies, teachers and school pupils especially girls.

Training consultant, Mr. Thomas Sesay told the participants that FGM has a devastating effect on the health of women and especially the girl child who are at risk throughout their life.

"This is a harmful traditional practice that has been legitimized in our normal cultural beliefs and social institutions," Mr. Sesay said.

The perpetrators of FGM according to Mr. Sesay are parents, care-givers, secret society leaders (soweis, poros) and members in the different communities.

On child/adult sexual abuse, Mr. Sesay said parents, care-givers and members of communities should protect children below age 18 from having sex with adults.

On his part, the Executive Director of PLDDO, Mohamed Sanyoha Bangura said the practice of FGM and other its related dangers would only be eliminated if national and local authorities take the lead on the campaign against it.

Mr. Bangura also said victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV) should be empowered against stigma and discrimination and that adequate awareness and sensitization on GBV and training and empowering perpetrators as an alternative for income generation should be done.