One in two women and girls in Liberia has undergone feminine genital mutilation (FGM), a dangerous observe that entails the elimination or damage of exterior feminine genital organs for non-medical causes. Typically carried out with out a lady’s consent, the observe can have devastating well being impacts together with haemorrhaging, an infection, persistent ache, childbirth problems and in extreme instances, dying.
However within the northeastern district of Nimba County, conventional practitioners of FGM are starting to go away the commerce in favour of different ventures similar to climate-smart agriculture and enterprise administration.
Kema Dahn, 54, used to carry out Sande society actions, during which younger girls and ladies are initiated into maturity by means of a collection of actions together with FGM.
Nowadays, she’s stopped performing FGM and is as a substitute specializing in farming, following agricultural coaching as a part of the Highlight Initiative-supported different livelihood programme. As a part of the coaching, she discovered to develop money crops like cassava, corn, pepper, garlic, okra, watermelon, cucumbers and beans, together with enterprise growth abilities, grownup literacy and easy methods to entry village financial savings and mortgage affiliation schemes.
“We [traditional practitioners] ]used to show ladies easy methods to behave within the presence of older individuals, plaiting hair and being modest,” says Ms. Dahn. “We’re now not practising FGM as a result of we realized that it isn’t needed. We are actually specializing in agriculture and enterprise.”
Ms. Dahn is aware of easy methods to put together land, understands soil sorts, and might distinguish which crops will develop finest at every time of the yr.
“I by no means knew a lot about farming, however I’ve acquired new information and abilities,” she says. “I additionally discovered easy methods to handle a small enterprise… The brand new abilities in enterprise growth and administration supplied an awesome alternative for me to get one other supply of revenue.”
As FGM is commonly carried out for monetary in addition to cultural causes, creating new methods for FGM practitioners to earn cash is important to ending the observe.
“What’s going to make us go away these conventional issues is empowerment to begin our personal companies,” says Ms. Dahn.
She is one among 300 conventional practitioners who’ve benefitted from the choice financial livelihood programme, which was launched in December 2019 beneath the Highlight Initiative.
By Gloriah Gayani and Theo Roberts