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Forced initiation intensifies in Bomi

A traditional chief in Suehn-Mecca District, Bomi County has intensified search for his daughter Nancy K. Kamara to have her forcibly initiated into the Sande Society reserved for young girls in Liberia. 

Reports gathered by the paper suggest that Chief Joseph S. Kamara has already gone ahead with having the other two sisters of Nancy- Joyce and Naketta Kamara, initiated.  

In Liberia, it is customary for parents to prevail on their children to join either the Poro (for males) or Sande (for females). 

Nancy is opposed to the idea on grounds that it is in violation of her human rights in these modern times.

She is quoted by Joyce Kamara, her younger sister and victim of the forced initiation, as saying that the current era calls for education of females, gender equity and freedom of association, instead of the primitive idea of being enlisted into a traditional society, putting aside academic adventure for one’s child or children.

It is against this background that Nancy is reported to have abandoned her parents firstly for her safety and to also pursue her educational sojourn for a better future.

When the mother of Nancy was quizzed: “I don’t the like the idea of my daughter being forced to join the Sande Society because I want her to be educated, and one day- by the Grace of God, become Minister or President of Liberia like Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. But you know as wife, I cannot stop my husband because he is the head of the family and father of the home. Therefore, what he says is final.”

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Already, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, headed by Julia Duncan-Cassell, has launched a campaign against the forced initiation of school-going children into traditional societies, but traditional leaders and parents in several parts of Liberia are seriously resisting it, saying traditions are meant to be obeyed and not overlooked.

At the same time, a school facility has been abandoned in the Suehn-Mecca area amid fears of initiation among students  by their parents and traditional leaders into the Poro and Sande Societies.       

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