MandatesNACCEL; ButEmphasized The Importance Of Providing Alternative EconomicLivelihood Programs For Traditional Practitioners
By: R. Joyclyn Wea
MONROVIA-The National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia (NACCEL) has agreed to end female genital mediation (FGM) immediately in January 2022 beginning with Montserrado County after consistent calls and negotiations by partners and civil society organizations in and out of Liberia.
At the moment, the country has a three-year ban on FGM practices across all of Liberia’s 15 counties, but this ban has not been fully adhered to.
A statement released Thursday, December 1, 2022, quotes the NACCEL as committing to close all bush schools and stop the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Montserrado County in January 2023.
Chief Zanzan Karwor has at the same time called on Chief Zoe (traditional practitioner) Massa Kandakai and the Paramount Chief, Stephen Goba to ensure that all Zoes within the Montserrado County surrender all documents and practicing implements in preparation for the official traditional ceremony to abolish the practice of FGM in early January 2023.
“Once the order is given in January next year, anyone challenging this authority will face disciplinary action from the NACCEL,” Karwor, noted
The Chief reiterated NACCEL’s commitment to ending FGM as evidenced by pronouncements of the three-year ban on FGM in the country. He also emphasized the importance of providing alternative economic livelihood programs for traditional practitioners in the 11 FGM-practicing counties.
Similarly; the Vice President of Liberia, Chief Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor called on NACCEL’s Chief Zanzan Karwor to engage the legislature and the international community to ensure the speedy passage of the FGM bill into law. Liberia is one of only three countries in West Africa that has yet to outlaw the practice of FGM.
The Vice President also presented a token to Chief Zanzan Karwor and requested him to visit all the Counties where FGM is still being practiced and ask traditional practitioners to stop the practice.
This year’s 16 days campaign is being held under the global theme – “UNITE! Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls” and the national theme “With One Voice, Let’s End Violence Against Women, Girls, and Children.” The campaign runs from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, till December 10, Human Rights Day.
The UN is supporting efforts of the Government of Liberia to eliminate gender-based violence through the Spotlight Initiative, a global program that aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls including harmful practices such as FGM.
Many are still doubtful about the latest action from the council to abolish the practice considering the many demands from Zoes and traditional people of late. It still remains unclear whether UN Women and other partners have been able to meet these demands put forth by the Zoes for which the body that governed them has agreed to partly ban the practice in one of Liberia’s 15 counties.