World Renown Girl-Child Activist Jaha Dukureh - "I Support Sierra Leone's Policy on Adult Only Female Initiation!"
“I love that woman!” said Jaha Dukureh in a recent phone conversation we had concerning recent clashes in Sierra Leone between anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) activists and strongwomen within the all-female Bondo traditional secret societies who are responsible for managing female initiation ceremonies. Jaha was referring to the formidable Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs in Sierra Leone, Honorable Dr. Sylvia Blyden and her audacious defense of the country’s policy on promoting adult only female initiation. “I think that this is an amazing step forward. And, in my view you should be hailed for supporting this kind of policy in Sierra Leone. I am against the cutting of girls under the age of 18 but I don’t think anyone has any right to tell an adult woman what to do with her own body.” Needless to say, I agree with Jaha: All adult women should be treated equally, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or national origin.
Jaha went on to explain that her campaign is to end what she refers to as FGM on girls unable to consent.
“I am also against labiaplasty. I have started a campaign to ban this practice as well. But it hasn’t received any traction or support. This is too bad because by WHO’s definition labiaplasty and other forms of female genital cosmetic surgery performed on white, western women and teenage girls are also FGM."
On the current crisis in Sierra Leone, Jaha is also clear, "The Guardian asked my advice on conducting a workshop in Sierra Leone. I told them emphatically I would not be involved and to leave Sierra Leone alone for now. I warned them that Sierra Leone is not The Gambia or Nigeria and that they were being misled by Sierra Leonean women activists in London. More from Jaha in the fall issue of SiA Magazine.
"Crazy As We Wanna Be" Blog
Fuambai Sia Ahmadu, PhD
Co-Founder, All Women are Free to Choose, Inc,
Editor in-chief, SiA Magazine