Target: Women and Leaders of the Chiefdom of Masungbala
Goal: Applaud efforts to limit female genital mutilation in Sierra Leone
After a series of discussions and negotiations, leaders in Chiefdom of Masungbala in northwest Sierra Leone agreed to restrict female genital mutilation (FGM), a massive step for women’s rights in the region. Thank the community leaders for working to establish gender equality by restricting this brutal, sexist practice.
Female genital mutilation and cutting is a prevalent practice in Sierra Leone with deep cultural roots. Many Africans believe it promotes good hygiene and health. Women who have not been forced to endure this painful practice are often stigmatized in their communities, with their neighbors going so far as to prohibit the “unclean,” or rather un-cut, women to touch foods that will be served to men. A bill outlawing the mutilation practice was withdrawn suddenly in 2007, and was not reintroduced to Sierra Leone until 2014.
The community, made up of eight of the country’s 14 districts, signed a Memorandum of Understanding that prohibits FGM for girls under the age of 18. The memorandum also states that any woman over 18 must consent to the procedure before it takes place. While nearly 40 percent of women in Sierra Leone have experienced female genital mutilation, approximately 600 girls from the Masungbala Chiefdom were saved from FGM just a month after the memorandum was passed.
Sign the petition below to thank leaders of the Chiefdom of Masungbala for setting an example to all other communities practicing FGM by opposing this inhumane treatment. Encourage Sierra Leone to finally outlaw FGM, and praise these community leaders for their efforts to end this cruel, outdated practice.
Dear Women and Leaders of the Chiefdom of Masungbala,
It has recently come to my attention that you have enacted the Memorandum of Understanding, representing an enormously progressive step for women’s rights. I would like to applaud you on harshly limiting female genital mutilation procedures, by protecting children from FGM and requiring that adult women choose whether to endure the procedure.
Countless women have experienced the horror and the pain of genital mutilation, but you have set a positive example for change. This memorandum is the first true step toward ensuring women’s health and safety in the region. Additionally, you’ve helped to dispel widely held stereotypes regarding women by restricting this practice. Hopefully, Sierra Leone can become the first FGM-free zone.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: AnonMoos via Wikimedia Commons