Acting Gender Minister, Mrs. Alice Johnson-Howard has applauded the UN Women for providing training to 40 media practitioners on the objective reporting of FGM. This, she indicated, is a boost in buttressing ongoing national anti-FGM awareness campaigns across Liberia.
Minister Johnson-Howard made the disclosure on Wednesday, September 27, 2023 when she spoke at the opening of a two-day media training workshop on objective reporting on FGM organized by the UN Women.
Recognizing the pivotal role that the media play in informing and educating the public about FGM and implications of the practice, UN Women assembled media practitioners from diverse backgrounds including county based media actors as well as representatives from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) and the National Council of Chiefs and Elders (NACCEL) amongst others.
The training focuses on FGM and culture, exploring the socio-cultural dynamics, understanding FGM as Human Rights issue and exploring human rights frameworks on FGM and Liberia’s international obligations. Other topics include media ethics and responsible journalism as well as principles and guidelines. Developing ethical, objective and gender sensitive reporting on FGM scenarios as well as interview techniques dealing with survivors and practicing communities are also highlighted.
At the end of the training, participants are expected to be certificated, and also eligible to participate in a competition to report on FGM that is expected to be launched at the close of the two-day media training.
In her remarks, Acting Minister Johnson-Howard encouraged media practitioners attending the training to cease the moment and see the occasion as a new opportunity that motivates them to serve as key campaigners in helping to promote anti-FGM campaigns and awarenesses on the existing Ban of the practice amongst others.
She reaffirmed Government’s commitment in ensuring that the practice of FGM is entirely abolished across Liberia, insisting that the media remains pivotal in achieving this national endeavor. She also thanked UN Women for such initiative, adding that such gathering is very helpful in the fight against FGM.
Liberia has made significant strides in its efforts to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM), a harmful practice that involves the removal or injury of external female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
Research shows that an estimated 50 per cent of women and girls aged between 15 and 49 years have undergone FGM, highlighting that FGM affects many women and girls both physically and psychologically, preventing them from realizing their rights and full potential.
It can be recalled, a landmark proclamation to ban FGM throughout Liberia was made by Chief Zanzan Karwor, the Chairperson of the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia (NACCEL) in Sonkay Town, Montserrado County on 6 February 2023 during the commemoration of the International Day for Zero Tolerance Against FGM.
Traditional rites and closing ceremonies to mark the ban of FGM in other FGM-practicing counties are ongoing.
To support this initiative and ensure information dissemination on the ban of the practice, there is a need to conduct massive awareness campaigns on the ban in all parts of the country to ensure that communities are receptive to public information efforts to support the elimination of FGM.