Lassana Bamba, Minn. 4/14/14: In most African countries, gathering support for female education is not as easy as seen on the surface.
Such support mostly collide with traditional beliefs that seem to intertwine with the desire for female education. Reneging support for educating girls is largely blamed on the lack of support from men who are considered heads of household.
Most heads of household in Africa are deeply rooted in cultural beliefs that influence them to keep their girls children home and the mothers who serve as housewives, are depended upon as mentors.
For the most part, majority of these domestic housewives serve as role models for girls, while on the other hand, boys are sent to school on regular basis. Emphasis placed on boys education could be view by female education fanatics as discrimination, but heads of households in Africa view this from a different perspective.
The general belief is that, they are molding the minds of boys to encourage self-sustainability, while on the other hand girls practice to be resourceful housewives. Cllr. Mameita Jabateh-Sirleaf, of North Carolina who over the weekend served as keynote speaker in Minnesota disagrees.
According to Cllr. Jabateh-Sirleaf, she was once entrapped by this belief, but due to mounting support from family members who cherished educating girls, she brook free. During her presentation over the weekend at WOFM Center in Crystal, Minnesota, she stressed the need for a culture of excellence and inclusiveness for women education.
“Being a Mandingo woman, I know that the road is filled with many obstacles that can make the educational path challenging for females. Being there, I have done that, I know what I am talking about, it is not easy being a woman in a men’s world. But the challenge is not insurmountable. The mountain is high, but with family and community support we can gain the strength needed to climb that mountain. Sometimes, female students from Africa or from other parts of the world face a daunting task with cultural and social challenges related to identity, or health issues. Our girls should be supported as they achieve their goals.”
Having made this statement, those attending the installation of Kafumba Kromah as president, Lancine Diabate as vice president and Tenin Conde-Kamara as secretary, all newly elected officials of The Minnesota Mandingo Association, soon realized that Cllr. Jabateh-Sirleaf had performed a perfect audience analysis prior to taking the courage to address members of her tribal group on the theme, “Empowering Women through Education.”
As Guest Speaker, she told the audience the need to teach girls strong moral characters, as well as social responsibilities. She said girls need education through empowerment which is attainable through social change, capacity building and for what she calls “Critical consciousness.”
She challenged community dwellers to make accessible career development opportunities for their girls children, “I am not only advocating for education, I am advocating for the right to education.”
The North Carolina resident challenged the incoming leadership of MMA, to be fair and truthful in the discharge of their respective duties. “The captain depends on all the other 9 players on the team to move the ball from their goal post to the other’s goal to score a goal.” Cllr. Mameita Jabateh-Sirleaf was simply implying that leadership is based on teamwork.
Cllr. Mameita Jabateh-Sirleaf is the first female vice president of FELMAUSA, a federation spearheading activities of Mandingoes across the United States. Prior to coming to the United States, she worked for the Bureau of Maritime Affairs in Liberia.
For his part, the installing officer, Ansumana Randolph Jabateh, a senior brother to Cllr. Jabateh-Sirleaf, called on President Kafumba Kromah, and other officials to uphold, protect and defend the constitution of MMA, The Minnesota Mandingo Association and that of FELMAUSA, Federation of Liberian Mandingo Associations in the USA.
Following their induction, the President of MMA, Kafumba S. Kromah chose to abandon the initial speech he had prepared. The reason according to him was based on the speech delivered by the out-going President, Mohamed Enzah Dorley. Bamba 1 News will publish this in a subsequent report.