Is the Sande Society More Powerful than the Liberian Government?

Welcome to November!

The same question has been asked time and time again, “Is the Sande Society more powerful than the Liberian Government?”  Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation has decided to ask the same question to the Liberian Government, with the hope of receiving an answer to give to our readership.

The first shipload of settlers arrived from the United States to what was then called the Greenland in West Africa in 1821.  The forty-three thousand square foot parcel of land earned the name because of its fertile soil.  Although the settlers met inhabitants upon arrival in the Greenland, they established a country and named it Liberia.  Those inhabitants the settlers met in Liberia continued to practice their tribal rituals and animistic beliefs.  One of the many animistic beliefs was female circumcision (female genital mutilation/cutting).  At the time, no laws were enacted in the nineteenth century to prevent the original inhabitants from practicing their tribal beliefs.

For example, in the twentieth century, then President William Tubman discovered that one certain ethnic group was still practicing cannibalism in their villages.  During one of his several visits to a village, he noticed that this particular village did not have a cemetery where they buried their dead.  He questioned the chiefs in charge and made the discovery that this particular ethnic group ate their dead instead of burying them.  He then gave strict orders that the particular ethnic group was expected to have a cemetery on his next visit to that village.

Because the early settlers in the nineteenth century were ignorant to most of the tribal practices of their newly found fellow citizens, many atrocious and heinous practices went unnoticed, even if and when they resulted in fatalities.  It was not until the early to mid-twentieth century when the descendants of those early settlers learned that girls were taken through a special tribal initiation, which included removing parts of their genitalia.  The question remains, “Why did the lawmakers, who were descendants of the early settlers not enact a law against removal of female genitalia or female circumcision?”  Perhaps they did not want to antagonize the inhabitants’ ethnic practices; therefore they left them alone and allowed them to practice their beliefs, especially since there was no proper medical record-keeping to reveal fatalities.

Well, it is no longer the nineteenth or the twentieth century; it is now the twenty-first century.  However there is one difference with the Liberian Government.  In the last two centuries, the Liberian Government was run mostly by the descendants of those early settlers.  There has been a huge shift in the Liberian Congressional, Judiciary and Executive Branches since entering the twenty-first century.  Today, all three of those branches of government in Liberia are densely populated with descendants of those original inhabitants; the same inhabitants that continued to practice their animistic beliefs and tribal rituals from 1821.  Now in the year 2016, majority of the Liberian Congressional Branch comprises of members of the Poro Society, which is the male version of the Sande Society.  A little more than a year ago, the Liberian Ministry of Gender put forth legislation to the Liberian Congress, which included the ban of the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting.  The Congressional members approved and passed all other clauses in the legislation, with the exception of the FGM/C clause; they removed it and dismissed that clause.

It was only a month ago when Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation held a conference call with a Liberian Senior Senator.  Executives of the organization met with him to advise him of recent concerns in that country surrounding the violent practice of FGM/C.  The response and reaction the organization received from the Liberian Senator left them flabbergasted.  The Liberian Senator told them that he had no intention of working against the practice of FGM/C.  He said, “In fact, I am offended that you would refer to it as female genital mutilation or cutting.  It is female circumcision, and that is what you need to call it.”  He continued, “I cannot go to the circumcisers and asked them to cease the practice, then go back to them and ask them to support me during elections.”

One of the executives from the organization remarked, “So this is all about politics?”  The senator became defensive and somewhat hostile, “No it is not about politics!”  The conversation became unpleasant before they decided to end the call.  The senator told the executives of Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation that it is up to them to proceed with their planned program for former circumcisers.  He said, “The women will take your money, they will even attend the training you are planning to do and at nighttime, they will go to the bush and still practice what they practice.”  The senator let the executives know in no uncertain terms that the practice will never be banned in Liberia.

Is the Sande Society more powerful than the Liberian Government?  Are the Poro and Sande Societies the stronghold in the Liberian Government?  Whether or not they possess that much power in that government, it is evident that there is more than enough influence from those societies to sway major decisions to ban the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting.


Announcements This Week

Gandhi Be Magazine – “Global Community of Changemakers”. Have you joined yet?

We need your help! Gandhi’s Be Magazine is building a “Global Community of Changemakers” inspiring, empowering, and activating each other as together we create, connect, collaborate, and communicate what we want our future to BE.  Join us today! Your annual membership is just $5/month, $60/year:  We believe you are the change! Become a member of our “Global Community of Changemakers” and support this movement. There are many benefits to being part of this growing community including:

-discounted books
-free or discounted trainings
-invites to special events
-a limited edition BE Blue blessing thread
The book, Female Mutilation authored by Hilary Burrage has been released in the US and Canada.  The book is currently on sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation highly recommends Female Mutilation for high school students and anyone who wants to learn more about the practice of FGM/C.  This book and the author were at the Walk To End FGM on October 15th and to purchase a copy of the book, visit


Shop Amazon Smile & Donate to Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation:  As you, our supporters make your purchases from, please do so by supporting us at: and Amazon will donate to Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation.  #StartWithaSmile at and Amazon will donate to Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation.  We appreciate your donations and wish you happy shopping!



Do you have an announcement you would like to place in this section of the newsletter?  Here are the guidelines below:

The guidelines to submit an announcement are to appear in this newsletter:

  • The length of announcement must be no more than a paragraph of 6 lines.
  • Your announcement should be something that pertains to women, girls or students, such as events, walk-a-thons, conferences, etc.
  • If there is an accompanying image, it must be no less than 72 dpi, preferably in jpeg.
  • Your announcement must be received no later than the Thursday 5:00pm prior to the following Tuesday publication.
  • Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation reserves the right to deny a submission if it is not within our guidelines.


Weekly Word-Scramble

Do you enjoy playing with words?  This is a fun way to see how well you can unscramble the following words.  We will reveal the unscrambled words in next week’s edition of the newsletter.  If you enjoyed this, write and give us your feedback to

Can you unscramble the following five words?

This Week’s Scrambled Words







4 Weeks ago Scrambled Words                               4 Weeks ago Unscrambled Words

DIOOWAD                                                                           DAWOODI

RABOH                                                                                 BOHRA

TNAKAH                                                                              KHATNA

TALIGENI                                                                            GENITALIA

NORMILATABY                                                                 ABNORMALITY

We give you five scrambled words each week.  We hope you enjoy playing.


How You Can Help & Support Us

Here are some of the ways you can help and support our programs in 2016:

  • Donations (including in-kind donations)
  • Partnering (collaborating in one of our programs and/or events)
  • Joining our Internship or Student-Ambassadorship Program
  • Volunteering
  • Donate through employer payroll deduction (through Your Cause, United Way or the government employee giving program)
  • Sign our Petition


The Global Woman Center Has Support Group Sessions

Support Group is currently meeting in the following Sessions until the end of the year:  September 24th, November 12th, November 19th, December 10th and December 17th.  We will break for the holidays after December 17th and resume sessions on January 14th.  We invite you to join us at 3920 Alton Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016 at 12:30pm.  For one-on-one meetings, contact us for appointments at or call 703-818-3787.

Important Contacts in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area to Keep Handy

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation               703-818-3787

National Child Abuse Hotline                              800-422-4453

Fairfax County Office for Women                       703-324-5730

Virginia Crime Victim Assistance                        888-887-3418

Montgomery County Abused Persons Program   240-777-4673 (24 hours)

Prince Georges County Sexual Assault                301-618-3154

Prince Georges County Child Advocacy Center  301-909-2089

Baltimore City Child Abuse Center                     410-396-6147

Frederick County Child Advocacy Center           301-600-1758

Howard County Listening Place                          410-313-2630

Washington County Child Advocacy Center       240-420-4308

District of Columbia Metropolitan Police             202-727-9099

Alexandria Victim/Witness Program                    703-746-4100

Arlington County Victim/Witness Program         703-228-7273

Loudon County Victim Witness Program             703-777-0417

Prince William County Victim/Witness                703-392-7083

Attention: The U.S. government opposes FGM/C, no matter the type, degree, or severity, and no matter what the motivation for performing it. The U.S. government considers FGM/C to be a serious human rights abuse, gender-based violence, and, when done to children, a form of child abuse. It is against the law to perform FGM/C in the United States on a girl under the age of 18 or to send or attempt to send her outside the United States so FGM/C can be performed. People who violate this law can face prison time and significant immigration consequences. Additionally, anyone who performs FGM/C on a woman 18 years old or older without her consent may be charged with a crime under other laws.  If someone performed FGM/C on you, you have not violated any U.S. laws and are not at fault, call 1-800-994-9662.