Questionnaire from Screening in Sierra Leone with AFRICAN PROGRAMS

1. What did you learn from the “Sarabah” that you didn’t know before?
I learned about Sister Fa’s approach to the subject. She is very gentle, and makes it about education, not judgment. She is also very persistent. She has such love for her community in Africa. With education and caring you can change the practices.

2. What are the 2-3 most memorable moments for you in the film?
The first was when she was on the radio and a male caller was verbally attacking her. I still don’t think that I understand the male perspective of this.
Another moment was when she had the children in the schools singing about FGC. I know that is how things are communicated in a lot of parts of Africa. I could just see all the children at the CRC singing her songs.

3. Has the film inspired you to take action of any kind?
I don’t think there is any question that we should take some action. More needs to be done. We just have to figure out the best way to help educate people.

4. Why do you think it’s the women in Sister Fa’s village who make the decisions about cutting? Why do you think the men don’t oppose it?
I think that is the case in most places. It is seen as a traditional initiation into womanhood. They are also concerned about the future of their daughters and think they are doing the right thing to insure marriage for them.
I don’t think the men or women understand the ramifications of infection, scarring, child birth and the complications. It has been the tradition for so long. They say one of the reasons is to keep women from wondering from their marriage. Of course men would support that.

5. Do you think Sister Fa’s “Education Without Excision” campaign is a good way to convince people to abandon FGC? Please explain why or why not.
I think that once people are educated they can make better decisions about whether or not to continue FGC. I think if they really understand the complications it will help. Though I think there will still be some that will not change their practices until not being cut is more of the norm.

6. Is it a good idea for schools to teach children about the dangers of FGC? Please explain why or why not.
Schools are sometimes the place that children can learn about things without pressures of family. Their parents may not want to talk to them or be one of the first to oppose cutting. This works especially when done in a loving non judgmental way. The children may then be able to go home and discuss this with their parents and help educate them. My concern would be educating them at such a young age when we have heard that there are girls being cut as young as 7 and 8 years of age. I do think you need to reach the women who are leaders in the community separately

7. What else could Sister Fa do to promote change?
Be present in more villages all over Africa. Continue to write music to educate. There are so many traditional languages, I don’t know how to reach a bigger audience. Work with more NGO’s to help spread the word.

8. Are there musicians and other celebrities in Sierra Leone who could do something similar to what Sister Fa is doing? Who are they? How would you convince them to take action?
I don’t know the musicians and celebrities in SL. We would need to do some research.

9. Please tell us your overall reaction to “Sarabah”.
I think it is very moving. I love her approach to a difficult subject. She has an incredible message to spread and she does a wonderful job of reaching out to people. She can speak as someone who has been there.

10. Please tell us your overall reaction to Sister Fa’s music.
I love her music. I did have some trouble understanding some of the word even when they were in English. I just have to work on listening to the accents.