Will Liberia Finally Ban Female Genital Cutting?

Listen here: Liberia is one of just three West African nations where female genital cutting is legal. New Narratives’ Evelyn Kpadeh Seagbeh finds strong resistance to the bill from traditional leaders and little political will to challenge them. At the same time membership of traditional societies is plummeting.This story was a collaboration with Ok FM…

A New Bill to Ban Female Genital Cutting Looks Set for Defeat Even as Liberians Abandon the Practice

Liberia is one of just three West African nations where female genital cutting is legal. In this two-part series with New Narratives Evelyn Kpadeh Seagbeh finds strong resistance to the bill from traditional leaders and little political will to challenge them. At the same time Sande’s membership is plummeting. MOUNT BARCLAY, Montserrado – 18-year-old Dearest is one…

FGM Bush Schools Still Operational Despite Three-Year Moratorium

GARPUE TOWN, Grand Bassa County – Schools are now open in Liberia, but 14-year-old Tutugirl has not joined her classmates. Tutugirl says it has been impossible since she returned injured and traumatized from the “bush school” where she and her friends were forcefully taken after they were kidnapped from this town in September. While she…

Traditional Leaders Say They Will Not Stop Female Genital Cutting Without More Money

Massa Kandakai, the head of over three hundred FGM practitioners in Montserrado County, says she along with her women have fulfilled their part of the bargain with UN Women by closing all bush schools in Sonkay Town and Todee in Montserrado. Kandakai says UN Women should uphold the agreement by continually supporting them – with monthly salaries, access to cell phone networks, fishponds and processors for making Farina or flour from cassava and potatoes. The women say they will revert to the practice if their requests are not met….

Liberia: 2022, A Bad Year for Victims of Child Rape

Martu Yardolo had just turned 17 when she says she was given a drug hidden in a drink and gang raped by three men. It was the night of her birthday. Yardolo was looking forward to celebrating with her friends. Instead but it ended in violence that has destroyed her world Commentary by Evelyn Kpadeh…

Monrovia and Paynesville are Drowning in Plastic; One Company Tries to Help

MONROVIA – Waste plastic is becoming a scourge around the world but it is especially true here in Liberia’s capital city and its satellite sister, Paynesville. Discarded plastic is choking waterways, blocking drains, killing fish, and leaching harmful chemicals into the water and soil. By Tina S. Mehnpaine, with New Narratives With poor or limited waste management…

Liberians Overdosing At Home Over Fear of Coronavirus

PAYNESVILLE – Beginning June 9, Mary Jones, a 42-year-old mother of four, took sick for a week. She had sore throat, headache and running stomach, the same symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus. Jones bought drugs from two pharmacies and took them. She thought she would contract coronavirus or be tested for the disease if…

Health Authorities Calm Over Limited Ventilators

MONROVIA – Liberia has only six ventilators, one of the country’s many challenges in combating the novel coronavirus pandemic but health authorities say they are not worried about that. Why? They have not had to use the available, meager equipment. “The absence of ventilators is not having any impact on us because none of our patients…

Liberians Are Combating Coronavirus and Storm At The Same Time

BARNESVILLE – David Wesseh, a resident of Kebbah, appears confused after his two houses were unroofed by a heavy storm. Wesseh, his wife and his seven children are being accommodated by friends not far from where his roofless houses stand, but he is worried that he and his family could catch coronavirus. There have been no…

Rescued From Bush School, Girls Detail Trauma; Mothers Pursue Justice

Mount Barclay, LIBERIA – Going to the “Sande Bush” school was never a dream for Dearest, Tina or Precious. The three girls, all high school students, say they were abducted by traditional leaders in September and taken by force to the Sande without the consent of their parents. They spent six terrifying weeks at the…

Women Farmers Made Destitute by Pandemic

MONROVIA – Weatta Gbelly has seen hardship in her 35 years but nothing prepared her for the Covid-19 pandemic. Ms. Gbelly has never had the virus, neither does she know anyone who has, but she has suffered just the same. Ms. Gbelly is a mother of six. She and her husband used to farm to support…

Women Farmers Made Destitute by Pandemic

MONROVIA – Weatta Gbelly has seen hardship in her 35 years but nothing prepared her for the Covid-19 pandemic. Ms. Gbelly has never had the virus, neither does she know anyone who has, but she has suffered just the same. Ms. Gbelly is a mother of six. She and her husband used to farm to support…