By: Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr, Margibi County
Women Education and Development Organization-Liberia or WEDOL condemns recent protest by members and officials of the Sande, a female bush school in Weala, Margibi County against recent moratorium imposed on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other traditional activities in Liberia.
A Sande Bush named Zinnah Hill in Weala protested early this week for several hours, blocking traffic in disagreement to a decision by the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia to stamp a three-year suspension on Sande activities in the country.
The head of Zinnah Hill in Weala, Ma Wotoe Musa told reporters during their protest that they had no prior notice or accorded due respect by the National Council of Chiefs and Elders before their decision.
According Ma Musa, they were subsequently asked by some traditional leaders to abandon their protest.
In February this year at a two-day national conference in Gbarnga, Bong County, traditional leaders of Liberia affixed their signatures to uphold a policy document, temporarily suspending all Sande Society practices and other traditional activities in the country for three years.
The conference was held by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia.
In a press statement issued on March 23, 2022, the Executive Director of WEDOL, Madam Roseline Y. Cassell said she was taken aback when she saw young women and girls, who should be in school, protesting against the closure of all traditional schools in Liberia for three years by the National Council of Chiefs and Elders in collaboration with the Ministries of Gender and Internal Affairs.
Director Cassell says she strongly believes that young girls who participated in the protest don’t know what is happening around them, adding that the question that came to her mind is: “Why are we wasting our time and resources in the fight against gender-based violence against women and girls in Liberia?”
Madam Cassell says though she respects traditional practices there is a need for modifications so that they are free of harmful practices.
She joins other voices in condemning the protest by young girls and women from the Zinnah Hill Sande bush school in Weala.
Instead, the WEDOL director buttresses Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor’s call for a modernized and modified traditional school where young women and girls will enroll to learn the cultural value of Liberia, and where even people from foreign lands can go to learn the culture of the nation.
She calls on women in Margibi and across the entire country to continue advocacy against drug abuse and gender-based violence.
Located in Weala, Margibi County, WEDOL is a group with a vision to create a society where women and girls are free from all forms of violence.
It also seeks to build capacity of other disadvantaged and underprivileged women and girls, especially in Margibi County through sensitization on issues that affect them directly, including advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality.
Madam Cassell adds that advocacy cuts across rape, early marriage, domestic violence, sodomy, school dropout and many other conditions.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/sande-members-protest-in-weala-against-bush-school-closure/ Editing by Jonathan Browne