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Ending FGM In Sierra Leone: “Keep The Drums And Lose The Knife (KDLK)”: Over 28 Sowes Handover Their Tools And Baskets.

3 mins read
Ending FGM In Sierra Leone: “Keep The Drums And Lose The Knife (KDLK)”: Over 28 Sowes Handover Their Tools And Baskets.

A new dawn, ending Female Genital Mutilation, dancing, singing  “Bondo bye-bye ooo, yeee, Bondo bye-bye oooo as they danced carrying their baskets, and tools to be burnt

During an event organized by KDLK, a community interest group working in partnership with local communities to end FGM know locally as Bondo.

In the effort to end FGM across local communities, KDLK believes that Sowies who are the custodians of FGM also victims of this practice as it is most of the time passed on to them by tradition.  Working with these women, KDLK is offering an alternative livelihood through collective efforts.  The women have agreed to do farm work and other petty trade within their communities in exchange of the knife and end all forms of harmful practices in their communities.  This declaration took place at Tonko Limba Chiefdom, Kambia district.  These Sowes declared to stop the cutting of women and girls and handed over their baskets and licenses, burnt in front of their community members and other stakeholders.  In return a start-up capital of le 1,000,000 was given to each Sowie who then signed an MOU with the understanding that they keep to the plan to complete the training and participate in the organisations outreach activities and advocacy, and support others to end the practice. An additional Le1,000,000 will be issue out to these 28 women in the next 4 months.  In this agreement, KDLK is to  facilitate all training and activities for an alternative livelihood for these women to replace their income for a longstanding change.  After almost a year of successful advocacy and outreach activities, 28 Sowes declared to put an end to the practice of FGM and handed over their baskets.

 

KDLK is a Community Interest Group led by Survivors of FGM that uses their experience to end the practice. In their fight to end female genital mutilation, they created an alternative way of ending FGM by providing training and empowering  women who were engaged in the practices by providing start-up capital for them.

Registered in the United Kingdom and Sierra Leone, they operate in Freetown, Makeni Bombali, and Kambia District Sierra Leone. Last year August, 75 Sowes from the Northern part of Sierra Leone came forward for the community declaration.

Communities who took part in the first community declaration in Tonko Limba Chiefdom are Kathantineh, Kamassasa, Bubuya, Magbonkonie, kabasa sections.  In an agreement with KDLK, the organization together with the community agreed on an MOU for all parties to keep to their side of the agreement and Keep the Drums to Save Lives.

65 Sowies were trained, however, only 34 met the criteria to declare.  And on the day of declaration, 6 Sowies were disqualified as they dod not come with their traditional baskets.

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Sallu Kamuskay

Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean activist, storyteller, and blogger. He was born in Sierra Leone but later relocated to Guinea as a refugee because of the war in his country. Sallu Kamuskay uses his phone to engage on social media, under the name ‘’Salone Messenger’. He Co-Founded the Salone Messenger platform after his experience of the war, Ebola, and injustices. According to him, silence was the root cause of war, and of many social injustices, we continue to face as a nation. In 2013, during the Ebola crisis, Sallu Kamuskay took the risk and volunteered to fight Ebola. He spent some months in both safe and unsafe places; helping the victims and telling their sad stories. The election in 2018, left a divided country with communities fighting on tribal lines. This inspired Sallu Kamuskay to serve as the coordinator of the United Sierra Leone peace concert, which was organized in 4 major parts of the country, targeting violent communities and troubled youth. Sallu Kamuskay led a group of entertainers, activists, and organizations across the country on a peace tour, a program supported by the European Union, United Sierra Leone, Africa Union, ECOWAS, and the Messeh Leone Trust. Sallu Kamuakay has also served as a staff writer for the Hidden Voices Magazine.
Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below http://ayvnewspaper.com/index.php/k2-categories/item/7350-america-stress-a-hero-to-recognize.
Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.

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