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Kenema: Gender equality has been identified in Sierra Leone as pivotal in the quest for good governance by the government of President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma. As a result, calls for women’s participation in decision making at central and local levels, and other gender empowerment demands are not only becoming the order of the day, but also that President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has gone further to declare that the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ holds in store more programmes for the empowerment of women in country.
He made this declaration while delivering a statement during the occasion of the welcome and honour ceremony of Mrs. Naasu Fofanah by the National Sowie Association held at the Saint Mark Hall Holy Trinity Parish, Balma Road, Kenema.
It would be recalled that Mrs. Naasu Fofanah was appointed by His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma as Gender Advisor in the Office of the President, State House.
Organized by the National Female Traditional Leaders, with representations drawn from across the country, the occasion was meant to express thanks and warm gratitude to President Koroma for the appointment of Mrs. Fofanah as Gender Advisor to the President.
President Koroma in turn thanked the women for their acknowledgement of the offers that government has made to the women of Sierra Leone under his administration. He described women as everything, thus importance should be attached to their roles in the country.
“This is the first government that has made the highest appointments of women in the history of Sierra Leone. Government is making women into great personalities”, he said, and continued; “we want to further push women’s issues forward.”
President Koroma however recalled that all other Heads of State failed to apologize to the women for wrong doing to them during Sierra Leone’s decade old war.
“But I went to Moyamba on International Women’s Day and apologized to the women of Sierra Leone for all what has been done to them, and as a government we are also committed to give women the 30% quota”, he said.
President Koroma used the occasion to encourage the women folk to work in close partnership with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs as well as the Gender Advisor in the Office of the President in relation to women’s issues, adding that government will give independence to women to enable them continue to regulate the initiation of underage girls into the well respected Bondo Society.
On behalf of female Paramount Chiefs, PC Madam Maltida Y.L. Minah the Fifth of YKK chiefdom, Pujehun district, commended President Koroma for prioritizing women’s issues by appointing Mrs. Fofanah as a gender advisor. She described the event as a special moment for women and stated that all present at the ceremony were leaders of the female secret society – the Bondo.
PC Minah disclosed that all female Paramount Chiefs have agreed that no girl should be initiated into the Bondo Society below the age of 18, adding that the women of Sierra Leone have confidence in Mrs. Fofanah as well as believe that she would continue to advocate on behalf of women.
Mrs. Fofanah joined her constituents to profusely thank President Koroma for her appointment which was based on the vision he has for women in the country. Mrs. Naasu Fofanah, who is working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, further informed all present that President Ernest Bai Koroma believes in the potentials of women in moving Sierra Leone forward.
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