In her welcome address, the chair person of the occasion who also doubles as the national president of the Sierra Leone Market Women Association, Marie Bob Kandeh, said that she was pleased to chair such an occasion, as it was important to directing the future of our female children in Sierra Leone, Madam Marie went on to state that Female Genital Mutilation was detrimental to the lives of our female children, as it had caused serious consequences to them.
She furthered that Sierra Leonean parents were in the habit of forcing their girl child into the Bondo society, a situation she described as unfortunate and therefore should be stopped with an immediate effect.
She said that the government and its partners were working assiduously to ensure that children below the age of eighteen were not forced into the Bondo society, and added, even those that had reached the age of eighteen should not be forced into the Bondo society but rather should be done with their consent.
In his address, the link teacher for the organization at the school, Musa Conteh thanked the coordinator of the Girl Child Network for selecting his school as one of the few schools in Freetown to champion the fight against Female Genital Mutilation in the country.
He said that his school would do all in its powers to ensure that the message reached the children and also ensure that the children stood firm in rejecting anyone that would try to force them into the Bondo society.
Conteh commented that gone were those days when children below the ages of eighteen were force into the Bondo society,
He went on to say that there was now a law in place to punish anyone who forced a child below the age of eighteen into the Bondo society, and also encouraged the children to be bold enough to report any parent who would forced them into the Bondo society.
Speaking on behalf of the children of the school, Ambassador Ann Marie Kamara, a senior member of the club began by thanking the national Coordinator of the organization for the knowledge she had impacted in them since the club was established at their school.
She said that before the establishment of the club, they were blind to most of the issues in society while adding that the Girl Child Network was indeed an eye opener to them.
Ann Marie laos noted that parents should be forcing their children to go to school instead of forcing them to go into the Bondo society.
In another development, an Ex-member of the club, Isha Munu encouraged her colleagues to put their all into the activities of the Girl Child Network as there was a lot in stuck for them. She furthered that before she joined the organization, she was a very shy person but with the help of the organization, she could now address any gathering in the world without any panic.
In her key note address, the National Coordinator of the organization, Anita Koroma said that her organization’s primary focus is to advocate for the rights of the girl child.
She said that one of the numerous violations faced by the girl child these days was the issue of forceful initiation into the Bondo society. Anita furthered that children of this nation had suffered a lot in the hands of their parents as a result of forceful initiation into the Bondo society. She said that her organization was not against the Bondo society but rather against the cutting or the Female Genital Mutilation. She said that cutting as an aspect of the Bondo society should be removed as it had so many negative implications on the initiates. She went on to say that apart from the serious pains it inflict on the children, it had also led to permanent barrenness or infertility in most women, while she added that some who were unfortunate had died during the process. Anita therefore called on all to join them in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation as it had no benefit to the girl child. She said that parents should be seen forcing their children to go to school instead of forcing them into the Bondo society. She ended by calling on all to immediately report anyone found forcing children below the age of eighteen into the Bondo society. “We are not against the Bondo society but we totally condemn the cutting or the Female Genital Mutilation” she added.