Nimba County — Over 450 young women and girls are reported to have been initiated into the sandee traditional society in Gboi Yella, Gboi Gbalasonner Town in District #2 of Sanniquellie-Mahn, Nimba County.
This followed in early March of this year the graduation of over 300 young women and girls from the traditional school (sandee society) in the same Sanniquellie-Mahn District.
Many young women and girls in school, as well as those of school going ages are reported to have developed interest and abandoned whatever activities they were engage with to become sandis.
As a result of such controllable interest, some parents and guardians in district number two (Sanniquellie-Mahn) and its surroundings have withdrawn their wards to allow them the opportunity into the traditional society.
On the other hand, enrollments in many schools in the district during this second and final half of the academic school year have dropped.
"This situation does not only affecting grade schools when the season for the bush comes in Nimba, but also the African Bible University and Nimba Community College," said a local education officer.
Meanwhile, Nimba County Chief Education Officer (CEO), Beatrice Kargar Saye Bonner is appealing to traditional institutions in the county to set aside specific period wherein former activities for young women and girls of school-going ages will not be disrupted.
"It is not prudent for those of school-going ages to drop out of school. Traditional practices hinder their academic activities," Bonner noted.
"We are begging our people before incorporating these young women into the bush, let them attend school first," she pleaded. She made it emphatically clear that she was not opposed to traditional practices as a member of the sandi society, but had problem with the timing.
"I am a staunch member of the sandi society. Therefore, I never disrespect or go against my tradition, but there is a need for those females to get some formal education for tomorrow," Bonner told the New Dawn Correspondent in Ganta, Nimba County.
Liberia's international partners for some times have been preaching against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). The practice which they say is an old age and dangerous custom in many countries on the African continent, including Liberia, is ongoing in central, north and western regions of the country.
Some traditional elders in Nimba have vowed to the New dawn-Liberia that no amount of negative campaign by international organizations and their Liberian proxies will stop them from practicing their culture in Liberia.
"Before the coming of western education here, there existed traditional schools; our ancestors or fore parents thought the young people everything about life in terms of managing homes and families, respect, etc. Therefore, we can never stop it," said an elderly woman in District Number Two in Nimba.