Milestone in the fight against FGM

Together with our partner organisation AIM we celebrated on December 15th, 2019 our biggest success in the fight against FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) - more than 100 girls were officially admitted to the Bondo Society without the traditional ritual of circumcision!

In Sierra Leone, the so-called Bondo Society has existed for centuries, and its acceptance and recognition is a central goal in the life of most women. The social and cultural significance within the Bondo Society serves the girls positively. Among other things, the youngsters learn various culturally significant customs as well as skills relevant to the community. However, female circumcision is also one of the essential criteria for acceptance into the Bondo Society, although it is regarded internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. The fact that FGM is practised within the secret societies makes it difficult to combat this ritual. In Sierra Leone, measures and campaigns in the fight against female circumcision only show success if the social interrelationships in terms of religion, culture, witchcraft, social support system (or community) are understood and taken into account. This is exactly what AIM achieves through its multifaceted work, with success - for the first time in the history of Sierra Leone, circumcision did not play a role in the admission of new members! The girls spent a few weeks during school holidays in the secret Bondo Bush and were trained there by the Sowies (former circumcisers). As the president of AIM, Rugiatu Turay said: "We want to eliminate the harmful traditions, but keep the beauty of the Bondo". With the initiation at the end of last year, this was fully achieved for the first time.

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