Sierra Leone social welfare minister Blyden in Geneva with Anti-childFGM Sowei 

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 September 2016

President Koroma welcomes Sylvia Blyden

Sierra Leone’s minister of social welfare, gender and children’s affairs – Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, is flying out of Sierra Leone today Sunday, 11th September, 2016, leading a delegation of nine government officials, along with the secretary general of the National Sowei Council. (Photo: Social welfare minister Blyden receiving a vote of confidence from president Koroma).

They are attending the 73rd Session of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, taking place in Geneva, Switzerland. Top of the agenda is the hotly debated issue of female circumcision.

Dr. Blyden has remained focused and unruffled in the face of fierce criticisms of her position on female circumcision, corruption and poor management in the civil service.

But admirers and supporters of the minister say that she is winning hearts and minds over her unique style of leading her embattled ministry.

The minister will also be travelling to Geneva with 15 year old Hussein Muckson Sesay, who is currently the Secretary General of the Children’s Forum Network, to talk about the experiences of young people growing up in Sierra Leone. (Photo: From left – Mr. Jalloh the CFN Facilitator at MSWGCA, Madam Aminata the mother of Hussain, HUSSEIN MUCKSON SESAY, Hon. Minister Blyden and Chaperone Abdul Malik Bangura).

The government of Sierra Leone with the support of the overwhelming majority of people in the country, is strongly resisting the imposition of a blanket ban on female circumcision by the international community, led by the UN.

The presence of the secretary general of Sierra Leone’s National Sowei Council (NSC) – Madam Kharday Zorokong, will be crucial at the Geneva conference, where it is hoped that the international community will redefine its policy towards female circumcision and ensure that, the right of matured adults to do whatever they want with their bodies is respected.

Although Madam Kharday Zorokong who is well known for her female activism is leading the campaign against the outright banning of female circumcision, she is however, against girl child initiation.

Bondo3She has made this clear at a recent national radio broadcast in Sierra Leone, that although she is a practitioner of female genital cutting, members of the NSC to which she belong, do not support the initiation of anyone below the age of 18 years.

A key strategy of the government is the mobilisation of Soweis across the country to stand at the forefront of the government’s push to reduce and eliminate initiation of young girls. The Soweis are being led by a pioneering leadership involving Yaa Koloneh, Elsie Kongolomoh and Kharday Zorokong.

Madam Zorokong’s trip to Geneva is expected to be funded by one of Sierra Leone’s international partners.

The government of Sierra Leone is hoping that this strong partnership between the ministry of social welfare and children’s affairs and the country’s female circumcision practitioners, will help reduce the harmful effects of a cultural practice that is strongly held by over 80% of the population in Sierra Leone.

Supporters of Dr. Sylvia Blyden say that; ‘given that FGM is so topical, it is most welcomed that someone who is passionate about protecting children from being initiated is on the government’s delegation to the UN in Geneva’.

The Sierra Leone delegation heading for Geneva for this important confab will include senior officials from the Justice ministry, Health, and Foreign Affairs, led by the minister of Social Welfare, Gender, & Children’s Affairs – Dr. Sylvia Blyden.

The editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph asked minister Blyden what she hopes to achieve at the Geneva conference. The is what she said: “The past three years, since we submitted our Combined 3rd, 4th and 5th Periodic Reports on welfare and state of our children, have been a very tough time for Sierra Leone.

“Everything we knew and held dear got practically broken or brought to a standstill, as we combated an enemy worse than the 11 years old war. Under the great leadership of His Excellency President Koroma, we have put the war against Ebola behind us.

“However, the devastation Ebola left behind has continued to affect our people, including our children. For example, we now have a huge number of Ebola Orphans and Child Ebola Survivors, which remain to be a very significant challenge of our vision to protect all our children.

“Indeed, given what we promised in our Combined Report that Ebola could not allow us to implement, Sierra Leone would have preferred to defer appearing at this session until the country finished the ongoing post Ebola recovery priorities of the President.

“However, on the other hand, we do see this global scrutiny appearance, as a further chance to showcase our other successes, despite the huge challenges. It is also a chance to publicly acknowledge where we need help from the World. President Koroma is passionate about the rights of children; and actions of his government reflect that in so many ways.

“I am hopeful that the delegation I am going with today into Geneva, backed up by the Team on the ground, can effectively make our case to the United Nations and the wider international community that Child Rights remains a priority in Sierra Leone, and that we need the continued assistance of the International Community to help us achieve our programmes to protect our children.

“Children matter in Sierra Leone. That is why a child is included as a part of my delegation.”

10 Comments

  1. Santhkie Sorie,

    Let me get you clear. Are you saying that any opposition to Bondo is an insult and Unsierra Leonean? I ask because of what you said as follows:

    “The ugly dimensions which the Bondo ‘debate’ keeps assuming is the very development which I was sure it would take, where people would trade insults and use crude language.”

    If that’s the case, then know that I will continue to suffocate illiterate and nonsense Bondo Devil until she dies of strangulation in Sierra Leone.

    QUICK QUESTIONS

    1. Had there ever been a formal DEBATE on Bondo in Sierra Leone? If yes, when did it take place and what was the outcome?

    2. How can anyone know whether a woman is circumcised or not?

    Only ruthless pain-loving witches and wizards know that. LIARS!

    By the way, her having a long or short clitoris is no one’s business. That’s her privacy right, and NOT of an ungodly Sowei Mammy whose final destination is HELL.

    Thank God that there is UNICEF closely monitoring the situation in the country for very drastic consequences against proponents of fatal Bondo genital mutilations. Amen.

  2. The ugly dimensions which the Bondo debate keeps assuming is the very development which I was sure it would take, where people would trade insults and use crude language. All this, in the midst of the fact that the whole issue of FGM did not originate in Sierra Leone, but at the U.N and the West.

    The U.N. is the institution supposedly established on solid grounds to prevent wars and conflicts all over the world at the end of the second world war. Its forerunner, the League of Nations, had failed to stop or prevent the first world war.

    One would therefore be forgiven to think that the U.N. has a lot more to learn to fundamentally understand that each African country is made up of many tribes and ethnic groups; with each of them engaged in practices quite different from the others. This is where tolerance puts in an appearance, as each group respects the other’s uniqueness, and life continues peacefully.

    But when the U.N. places itself at the centre of potential conflict, the irony is palpable. This is what it has done to Sierra Leone.

    I have no doubt that if the people now trading insults on the internet over Bondo, ever had to come face-to-face with each other, they would probably tear each other apart. This is how conflicts and wars start. Once they start as we all know, they take on a life of their own that can be very monstrous. Do we still remember Foday Sancoh? Under cover of the second world war Hitler murdered millions of Jews.

    I cannot care less what doctors and others say about Bondo. It should only end when we say so after a full debate with all interested parties at the table. We don’t need another civil war in Sierra Leone. Even the smallest minority group should be respected by the rest of us, even if we don’t like what they do, as long as it is not illegal.

    The first Lady – Sia Koroma, Sylvia Blyden, Fumbai Amadu and all the women who stand up for their identity – one way or the other, are the most endearing women in the world for me at the moment. It matters not whether Bondo is within their sub culture or not. They want a peaceful Sierra Leone.

  3. Ekundayo Pratt,

    As a Man of God, let me tell you what the Lord Jesus Christ said as a consequence for calling me a fool:

    “And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Matthew 5:22b (NIV).

    All this foul talk about Bondo started in the 20th century and became despicably sensational when African-American Fuambai Ahmadu wrote on it, with her very recent lonely formation of “All Women Are Free To Choose (AWAFC) Bondo in Sierra Leone, but NOT here in America for fear of the LAW of the Land.” Shame on Fuambai Ahmadu!

    Does she NOT know that (male) “circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts?” 1 Corinthians 7:19 (NIV).

    While other regional leaders, including Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, are urgently planning on permanently banning FGM, however, some pain and death loving people in Sierra Leone are becoming very reluctant to follow suit.

    But, any woman who allows her God-made clitoris to be unnecessarily chopped off for Bondo traditional and cultural compliance is “sexually weak and disoriented.” What a perversity and self-inflicted sexual disability! Amen.

    See “Liberia: Enact a law banning FGM as a matter of urgency | Equality Now.”

  4. Ekundayo Pratt,

    Let me again repeat myself, for the sake of emphasis, so you can clearly understand me this time around. I’m by no means interested in a war of caustic words with you. However, you are a toothless barking dog that can’t bite me at all on painfully witch-crafted Bondo traditional practices in Sierra Leone. NO WAY!

    The last time you were talking about imperialism, neocolonialism and now racism. All the ‘isms.’ Are you really well and alright? I doubt it very much.

    Shame on your local buffoonery and your cohorts, including a daft-headed President Ernest Koroma, fake Sylvia Blyden, Owiss Koroma and satanic Kharday Zorokong. You are birds of the same feather flocking together in national and international disgrace.

    I have every reason to tell you that the chapter of Bondo is closing very fast in Sierra Leone. It will soon be some deadly, exhaustive and very unfortunate practice of the past. For our girls and women have bled long for far too much.

    They need help and spiritual deliverance in this age of the 21st century. Enough is enough of this barbaric and so-called traditional and cultural practice for that matter.

    If President Ernest Koroma can’t ban FGM in the country, then let him just STEP DOWN. And a very serious levelheaded person take his place to lead the people of God forward on solid ground in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

  5. Moustache you are a disgrace to yourself. For someone who claims to be a man of God you are shameless. How you can stoop so low as to humiliate another human being is beyond me.

    You are not a follower of Christ. You are nothing but an imposter. You do come across as nothing but a house slave who is full of self hate.

    When whites used to refer to Africans as savages and uncivilised we had a name for them. Racist. It is Africans like you who have no sense of self worth that are putting other Africans down.

    Whether the secretary general of the soweis is educated or not or cannot use knife and fork is none of your business.

    Why are you mocking the lady? You are a shameless fool that calls himself a man of God.

  6. To me, Minister Sylvia Blyden is not a medical doctor as she is claiming to be. After reading the series of articles and publications about the dangers of FGM, I think any doctor will be in place to condemn it rather than trying to sustain it.

    We have recently seen several countries trying to put a ban to such practices. But on the contrary, our so-called minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s affairs is mobilizing and paying Soweis to rally around.

    Let the world educate our minister to understand issues of the 21st Century.

  7. Sylvia Blyden has a remarkable opportunity to educate the U.N. and the world at large about Sierra Leone’s ethnic and tribal make up, ensuring that she juxtaposes it with the Bondo Society [it is not F.G.M]. In a tone of voice calculated to attract undivided attention, the Minister should tell the U.N. that the two largest groups in the country – Mende and Temene – are well entrenched in Bondo.

    If these two groups band together on any issue in Sierra Leone, their invincibility is implacable. And when one brings in the Limbas, Lokos, konos, and others, who are just as committed to Bondo, the wisest move should be for one to give up without a fight.

    The U.N. must understand that Bondo has been with us for centuries – even before its predecessor [The League of Nations] came into being at the end of the first world war, not to mention the fact that it outlasted the cold war.

    It is time for so-called Sub-Sahara Africa to be left alone to plot its course, independent of foreign interference, which almost always leads to conflict with the passage of time.

    Bondo, Poro, Wondei, Hunting, etc, should only go West, when we as a people say so in our own time. My father was a member of the Poro Society but never allowed any of his sons – myself included -to be initiated. Islam had much to do with it.

    My old man quite simply accepted that Poro and Islam did not blend, even with the pleading of my uncles, who are still into the Society. The U.N. and the West played no role in his decision. But when my sisters where initiated into Bondo, with my mother leading everything, my father – a rather withdrawn man,could not contain his excitement.

    I know that the unapologetic, courageous and unyielding Sylvia will give as good as she gets, while her boss- the President, hides in the trenches he has dug up for himself.

  8. I only hope that Ms Sylvia Blyden has taught the unschooled Secretary General of so-called Sierra Leone’s National Sowei Council (NSC), Madam Kharday Zorokong, some eating utensil etiquette i.e. how to eat with fork and knife by the European way in Geneva, Switzerland. For there are no cookery shops out there. We are tired of experiencing such petty and public embarrassments.

    That said, what has the GoSL done about the recently ‘forced’ FGMs on ‘underage girls’ specifically in Tonkolili District?

    Please find below an article from Standard Times Press Newspaper that was published last month Thursday, August 11, 2016 on how a 21-year old mother, Mrs. Gaberilla Kanu, went into hiding to escape wicked Bondo traditional rite of female genital cutting:

    “FORCED INITIATION: 21 year old girl works miles to escape traditional …”

  9. Ms Sylvia Blyden,

    Scientists estimate the volume of blood in a human body to be approximately 7 percent of body weight. An average adult body with a weight of 150 to 180 pounds will contain approximately 4.7 to 5.5 liters (1.2 to 1.5 gallons) of blood.

    In humans, blood is the fluid that transports nutrients and oxygen to every cell in the body. It also transports wastes away from cells. Blood keeps our body temperature steady by carrying excess heat from regions of the body to the skin where it can be dissipated. It also fights infection and carries chemicals that regulate many body functions.

    Blood is composed of a yellowish fluid, called plasma, in which are suspended the millions of cells that constitute 45% by volume of whole blood. A cubic millimeter of human blood contains about 5 million red blood cells, or erythrocytes; 5,000 to 10,000 white blood cells or leukocytes; and 200,000 to 300,000 platelets or thrombocytes. The blood also carries many salts and organic substances in solution in the blood plasma.

    In an average healthy adult, the volume of blood is about one-eleventh of the body weight. Most sources state the volume of blood in an average human adult, who is between 150 to 160 pounds, as between 4.7 and 5 liters, although the more recent sources state the volume of blood in an average adult as 4.7 liters. Sources state that an 80-pound child had about half that amount, and an 8-pound infant has about 8.5 ounces. People who live at high altitudes, where the air contains less oxygen, may have up to 1.9 liters more blood than people who live in low altitude regions. The extra blood delivers additional oxygen to body cells. The heart pumps all the blood in the body each minute when the body is at rest.

    See “Volume of Blood in a Human – Hypertextbook.”

    God’s word says that:

    “because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, ‘you must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood;’ anyone who eats it must be cut off.” Leviticus 17: 14 (NIV).

    Also, remember what happened in the days of Prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel as follows:

    “At noon Elijah began to taunt them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened. So they shouted louder and ‘slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed.’ Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.” 1 Kings 18:27-29 (NIV).

    Why did the prophets of Baal have to follow their cultural and customary practices by cutting themselves until there was a flow of blood?

    Of course, Satan twisted and corrupted their minds to do just that. They woefully lost the battle with very many serious casualties and fatalities.

    The illegal and unnecessary cutting of a healthy clitoris leads ONLY to bleeding and loss of large amounts of blood. As a result, Sierra Leone men with Poro cicatrization marks and female genitally mutilated women have the LOWEST life expectancy in the world. At 45 and 46 respectively.

    See the following reports on global life expectancy:

    1. “Sierra Leone MEN and WOMEN have the lowest life expectancy in the …”

    2. “Sierra Leone has world’s lowest life expectancy | Africanews”

    Because God NEVER instructed anyone to do female genital circumcision, there will be very terrible consequences, including deaths, on the violators especially on the illiterate and ungodly Soweis. And all female genitally mutilated persons will end up in hell with gnashing of teeth, if they don’t repent of hacking off their clitorises. Amen.

  10. President Ernest Koroma,

    You and your APC party are exposing the people of Sierra Leone to unbelievable mockery and ugly international laughter on the country’s wicked and satanic secret societies, namely, Poro, FGM aka Bondo traditional practices, etc.

    As a matter of fact, a good numbers of citizens- both inside and outside of the country- are becoming increasingly frustrated with your leadership style and presidential actions in this blessed 21st century that has seriously opened up our eyes unto godliness and holiness.

    Therefore, I ask that you take the following actions with immediate effect in order to escape God’s soon coming wrath against the ungodly and disobedient of His word:

    1. Genuinely REPENT, like Zacchaeus The Tax Collector in Luke 19 who made a full restitution or recompense to the Lord Jesus Christ, of your misdeeds and wrongful actions in government. He is patiently waiting for you to turn-around from your evil ways and call on His name to be saved.

    2. Courageously weed out and get rid of all ungodly individuals in your government; from cabinet ministers, deputies to secretaries.

    3. Replace them with very seasoned children of God, who are sensitive and obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Amen.

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