Liberia: Montserrado Leads Female Genital Mutilation Ban for Three Years

Chief Zanzan Karwor, head of traditional Council along with Gender Minister

Sonkay Town, Montserrado County– The Chairperson and National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia (NACCEL) has committed to close all practices of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Liberia, beginning with Montserrado for three years.

By Francis G. Boayue

The National Traditional Council and the Government of Liberia, along with UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador for the abolishment of FGM in Africa, over the weekend, conducted a ritual event to end FGM practice in all parts of Liberia.

The Chairperson of NACCEL, Chief Zanzan Karwor made the commitment On Friday, January 20, 2023, in Sonkay Town, Montserrado County along with Chief Zoe (traditional practitioner) Massa Kandakai and the Paramount Chief, Stephen Goba to ensure that all Zoes within Montserrado County surrender to abolish the practice of FGM.

According to Chief Karwor, “all the National Council of Chiefs and Elders including the paramount chiefs of Liberia have all agreed to suspend FGM in Montserrado for three years as first step to end FGM practice in all parts of Liberia.”

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.

“Montserrado has now agreed to suspend the practice of FGM temporarily for three years but we are now calling on the government of Liberia and the UN Women to make an available sustained livelihood for our traditional people in other to end FGM in Liberia,”

“With the power vested in me as Chief Zoe of Liberia, any zoe who will be caught in the act of FGM practice will be grabbed and treated accordingly as per tradition,” Chief Karwor said.

Queen Juli Endee, Cultural Ambassador, for her part, lauded the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia (NACCEL) for first step to end FGM practice in Liberia.

She, however, called on all the zoes across Liberia to join Montserrado by putting an end to FGM practice which will bring development to their town and community.

In remarks, the UN Women, lauded NACCEL for hosting the rituals to abolish FGM in Montserrado and ensuring that FGM practice is banned in all the eleventh practicing counties.

Equality Now, a collaborating partner for the abolishment of FGM, for their part, has amplified the call on ending harmful practices.

Caroline Lagat, Program Officer of Equality Now, said: “Beyond this event, Equality Now is urging the government of Liberia to strengthen mechanisms and increase investment in healthcare, social and psychosocial services for the survivors and work together with the traditional leaders, zoes, in implementing these structures in the communities to ensure FGM is discontinued. We strongly believe that Liberia is now ready for a law that will ensure a permanent ban prohibiting FGM without exception to age.