National Conference of ‘Soweis’ ends in Makeni
Makeni, November 24 (SLENA) – Forum Against Harmful Practices with support from the Wallace Global Fund has concluded a one day consultative conference with ‘Soweis’ (Bondo society heads) on the theme “The New Beginning, Protect Women and Girls from Female Genital Mutilation.” (Photo: Soweis at the conference)
The consultative conference was held on Friday 20th November 2015 at the Makeni City Council Hall.
Speaking at the meeting, Paramount Chief Bai Shebora Kasaghna II said only fools do not change, noting that there is no law preventing the practice of ‘Bondo’ and ‘Sowie’ initiation that was suspended due to the Ebola outbreak, reiterating that ‘Bondo’, among other secret societies, are part of our culture but that initiates must attain the age of 18.
Madam Rugiatu Neneh Turay called on the Soweis to adhere to the 90 days Ebola prevention and other health precautions to maintain an Ebola-free Sierra Leone, noting that the outbreak has prevented Soweis from practicing their trade, their source of income and appealed to them to focus on educating their children.
A society member, Targaray, observed that if ‘Bondo’ is banned in the country, they would be unable to educate their children, have a source of income and appealed to Government to provide them with alternative sources of income like skills training for women and girls, formulate bye-laws for Bondo and Soweis, by-laws for discrimination against women and their empowerment.
Targaray further appealed for retired Soweis to receive pension, free quality education for their children and employment opportunities for the young ones.
A total of seven-five bondo women participated in the conference, five from each district.
Other speakers included Madam Yasmin Jusu Sheriff and the Human Rights Commissioner, North.
Presentation of group work and recommendations climaxed the ceremony.
By Abdul R. Bedor Kamara, Credit SLENA
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