Born Perfect Caravan – Sierra Leone

My name is Alpha Kamara,a Sierra Leonean journalist and human rights activist. My colleague, Jonathan Omaru Junior, is a community radio station manager in Bonthe District, Sierra Leone. We both come from the two largest ethnic groups that are known for practicing FGM. We are also fathers to beautiful daughters whom we cherish dearly.
The need for concerted action to end FGM in Sierra Leone has never been more urgent. Initiatives such as the Born Perfect Caravan. 
Ultimately, our belief in the campaign against FGM is rooted in the conviction that every individual is born perfect in the eyes of their creator. Just as God made each of us in his image and likeness, so too should every Sierra Leonean girl and woman be afforded the respect, dignity, and freedom from harm that they deserve including our own girls.
So this really is the Born Perfect Caravan.

The Born Perfect Caravan in Sierra Leone – the road map.
Our route is strategically planned to address the pressing issue of FGM across various communities. We begin our journey crossing through Pamlap, marking the border between Sierra Leone and Guinea. This location has a diverse population comprising both Guineans and Sierra Leoneans. From there, our path leads us to Kambia district in the North of Sierra Leone, where tragically 5 girls lost their lives to FGM in February. Our caravan’s next stop will be Port Loko, a notorious hub for FGM practices, with several practitioners. Moving onwards, we’ll head to Bombali, the capital of the Northern region, notably the site where the heart-wrenching story, as highlighted by the BBC, unfolded with the loss of a young woman during an FGM initiation.
We’ll then make our way to Bo district, the regional capital of the South, where the postmortem of Masiray Sei, another victim of FGM initiation, was conducted.
We’ll journey to Kenema next, the capital of the Eastern region, renowned for its significant population of FGM practitioners. Along our route, we’ll make a significant stop in Freetown, the national capital, where we’ll convene with government officials and aligned agencies to reinforce our cause.
As we head eastward, we’ll pause at Gendema, situated at the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia, before venturing into Liberia.
We will be using the talents of three or more local musicians well-versed in human rights and women’s rights issues. Their performances coupled with other cultural activities and resources like radio and TV, will serve to captivate audiences and amplify our message at each community event.

Before we leave a town or village the Born Perfect caravan will gather the signature of all the people pledging not to cut their daughter. This inspirational campaign was pioneered in Somalia by Ifrah Ahmed, survivor and founder of the Ifrah Foundation and a co founder of #FrontlineEndingFGM who runs FGM media and awareness campaigns in Somalia and among the Somali diaspora in Kenya. With the support of the UNFPA in Somalia the Dear Daughter Campaign has now collected pledges of support https://deardaughter.unfpa.org/en/dear-daughter/about-us

We are proud winners of a regional award from the UNFPA/AU Ending FGM Coalition for our investigative reporting on a tragic FGM-related death.