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.
Ending FGM In Sierra Leone: "Keep The Drums, Lose The Knife", over 28 Sowes Handover Baskets And Tools in Tonko Limba Chiefdom @KamSarian @TheFiveFound @TheAlima @RonoChonginio @yegonemmanuel_ @FORWARDUK pic.twitter.com/QwH44ATHpA
— Salone Messenger (@Salonemessenger) April 10, 2021
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.