The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Over 300 Children Out Of
School In Lofa County?

Gender and Development Ministry’s Coordinator in Foya, Lofa County says over 300 children of school-going ages have reportedly abandoned formal academic programs for traditional or bush schools.
Madam Kumba Saah, Gender and Development Ministry’s Coordinator assigned in the district made the revelation during a two-day workshop held on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The gathering brought over 42 participants drawn from Liberia and Sierra Leone civil society organizations, local administrators and the media, among others which ended midweek.
When reached for comment, County’s Superintendent William Kimba Tamba, Foya’s District Education Officer (DEO) and other local officials could neither deny nor confirm the report.
But all have called for thorough investigation to ascertain the fact of whether or not the figure revealed by the county’s gender coordinator can be authenticated.
According to the report, Kumba Saah who made the revelation does not know between what ages those children are, but claimed that they were recruited in various villages and towns in Foya before being taken to those traditional schools.
She said those children have been out of normal academic schooling since last month (November) just to attend traditional schools, but Kumba fell short of stating the number of schools and locations in the district.
Furthermore, it is not known whether those children were conscripted or had volunteered to be initiated into the Sande (women) or Poro (men) bush schools.
However, what is not yet established is whether or not it is with the knowledge of their parents or guardians.
Liberia remains one of the three West African countries that do not have a law criminalizing FGM despite having signed and ratified regional and international human rights instruments condemning the practice as a human rights violation, including the Maputo Protocol.
As a result, traditional leaders in the country are perhaps resisting international pressure to end female genital mutilation performed for centuries by the country’s ancient secret societies but campaigners say they’re hopeful that new found dialogue will help rally support from within.
The fight against FGM has taken on greater urgency in Liberia since executive orders banning the practice expired some years ago.
Both campaigners and members of the government have been engaging with traditional groups in an effort to end the practice, which results in long term physical and mental damage. #SRHRmediadialogue-Gloria

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