Chairperson, Hon. Ministers, Commissioners, Directors, MDAs present, civil society organizations, development partners, members of the fourth estate, staff of Development Initiative Programme and Child Fund, Distinguished Participants, ladies and gentlemen.
I am delighted to be here today, to participate in the launch of the EU funded project ‘‘Community Empowerment for Prevention of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) for Women and Girls’’.
As EU we take our responsibility to speak up when rights are at stake and we take action when action is due. We want a world where the rights of girls and women are claimed, valued and respected by all, and where everyone can fulfil their potential and contribute to a more fair and just society for all.
What gives you more joy than to observe young girls, in play or in school; young girls who articulate with great fluency the women they want to become; girls with big plans and great dreams; girls who look at the future full of hope and ambition.
And yet we know that much of this hope and ambition will not be fulfilled. Because they are girls.
Does anyone have the right to sit still if we witness that the mere fact of being a girl or a women, puts you in a position of disadvantage? Does anyone really believe that there can be any merit in treating half the population as second class citizens?
Do we really believe in development if that development does not fully embrace women and girls as powerful agents of that development? This is not just about a fundamental human right, it is just as much about harnessing the potential of women and girls. This is what the EU stands for.
Child marriage, teenage pregnancy and female genital mutilation/cutting are intertwined as they are all rooted in the same social and cultural issues: gender inequality, socio-cultural norms, religious interpretation, poverty and lack of access to education and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information and services.
If a young girl or even a child is forced into marriage or if a teenage girl becomes pregnant we know that their health and education will suffer. But beyond that, when these girls become young women they will miss out on economic opportunities and decision-making in the family and in their communities.
FGM/C can also harm the sexual health and empowerment of young women. That is why child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and female genital mutilation/circumcision (FGM/C) are receiving more attention than ever in recent years.
If we, as responsible partners, as responsible agents of change do not redouble our efforts to reduce child marriage and FGM/C and prevent teenage pregnancy then we will fail in our efforts to realise the Sustainable Development Goals which are driving our shared commitment as partners in development.
In Sierra Leone for instance, the practice of child marriage and female genital mutilation/circumcision are ongoing and teenage pregnancy is prevalent in different towns/districts/regions.
The fact that today more than 10% of women – girls – get married before they reach the age of 15 is staggering. Almost 40% of Sierra Leone's girls are married by the time they are 18. Even with more access to education, young girls continue to be forced into marriage, in rural communities but also in the cities.
Poverty, cultural and religious norms, tradition and are all factors that contribute to this situation. As a result, teenage pregnancy is prevalent, but lack of lack of sexual education, knowledge, power or access to services to avoid an unintended pregnancy are other reasons why there are so many teenage pregnancies in Sierra Leone.
In the worst case, their pregnancy is a result of violence when they are forced to have sex or fall victim to rape. You all can agree with me that teenage pregnancy reduces a girl’s chances in life. Sometimes they stop or are being stopped from going to school or their chances to a full education are cut short.
Under the best of circumstances girls face barriers to move up in society, but teenage girls who become pregnant see their opportunities in life dramatically curtailed. Very often they are at increased risk of child marriage, HIV infections and domestic violence as teenage pregnancy has immediate and long-term impacts on health, education and their economic status.
Maternal mortality in Sierra Leone is amongst the highest in the world and is directly linked to teenage pregnancy. Unsafe abortions, complications during childbirth and premature birth are all contributing factors. The issue of adolescent fertility is important because it is associated with morbidity and mortality for both mother and child.
When a girl becomes pregnant her chances that she will have a miscarriage or that the she will pay the price for this pregnancy with her own life, are considerable higher than for an adult woman. This alone should be a strong enough reason for us to redouble our efforts to change this narrative. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, today we celebrate the International Day of the Girl.
This is the day that, even more than other days, we advocate for the rights of young girls, and that we recognize how girlhood shapes the future of all women in Sierra Leone and globally. We are all aware that Girlhood is a time when young women should be nurturing their skills, pursuing their passions, and building the foundations of their futures.
For far too long in Sierra Leone girls are seen as a burden or a commodity. These mindsets prevent girls from fully participating politically, socially, and economically in their communities and in society at large. And the disadvantages pile on from an early age: in Sierra Leone, though enrolment has gone up, girls are less likely to attend school than their brothers.
It's a bad start. Many girls are not given a chance to equip themselves with the skills to become successful adults. Many girls are not given the tools to give them a chance to move up in life.
And girls who are lucky enough to receive a quality education, will all too often face blatant or hidden obstacles, in the laws or in the minds of people – including women – that will prove a burden to realise their professional ambitions or to become successful entrepreneurs.
Yet we know that societies and economies achieve far better results when they embrace, rather than marginalize, the power of women.
Today, as European Union we are stepping up our engagement to make this a reality. As EU we want every woman, every girl, is empowered to pursue her dreams.
Not only will many of today's girls become tomorrow's leaders; but we want every girl to enjoy the same chances in life as their brothers; we want every girl to have a chance to pursue her dreams no matter how small or big they are. I am therefore very pleased that as EU we can announce our support to Development Initiative Programme and its partner, Child Fund, with a grant amount of 531,000.00 EUR for a period of 24 months, which started in August 2019.
The proposal emerged as one of the selected projects from a call for proposals, successfully competing, in other words, with other good and relevant projects. 3 The project has set itself very ambitious targets; we want to altogether eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2021 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Is it possible? Can we will have to count on the extra-ordinary commitment of all who can make a difference.
The project will also empower women and girls to play a central role in their communities. For that will be equipped with transformational leadership training and new skills. But no one can sit still if we want to achieve and this is why DIP and Child Fund will also improve the capacity of MDAs and CSOs to sustainably manage, coordinate and monitor interventions for the reduction of SGBV, adolescent pregnancy and child marriage.
Overall, I commend the ambition of this project in addressing child marriage, teenage pregnancy and FGM/C. This is not an easy task and we will all need to work tirelessly to encourage transformation through interventions at all levels - structural, cultural and social interventions.
To all duty bearers who are here with us, let me reiterate that we all bear a reasonability to strengthen young people’s capacities – individually, collectively and institutionally. We have to strengthen the capacity of families and communities as they are key to reduce child marriage, teenage pregnancy and FGM/C.
It is our duty to project positive values and attitudes; to demonstrate through what we say and what we do that we are serious when we fight for gender equality at all levels. If we can end child marriage and dramatically reduce teenage pregnancy, Sierra Leone will be a better place.
We trust that Development Initiative Programme and its partner will make good use of the project resources to achieve the results that have been set out. We all have the responsibility to make sure that resources are used efficiently and bring about value for money in a transparent and accountable manner – at the service of the people and always in the interest of the vulnerable and marginalised women and girls who are at the centre of this programme.
It is now my pleasure to officially launch this project and on behalf of the EU, I wish you every success. Thank you.
1849 was the birth year of a great leader who would help to change the future for her people in Seirra Leone. Madame Yoko’s birth name was Soma and she was a member of the Mendeland Gbo Chiefdom of Sierra Leone. Soma would officially change her name to Yoko during her Sande or initiation ceremony within her culture; she would also become known as a one of the most graceful dancers amongst her people.
Tolu Jethro Bade is the man changing the concept of entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone by using photography. A Nigerian with Jamaican ancestry, he lives and works in Sierra Leone.
“When I started photography in 2017, most people didn’t respect photography or photographers as compared to lawyers and doctors. The craft wasn’t well branded as compared to the artistry and glorification it has in Nigeria for example. I had to change that perception. Today, having a camera and taking a picture is cliché. Even though it’s picking up pace slowly and it’s much admired, there’s still much effort needed to brand the profession. Photography is a very difficult ordeal which requires enormous amounts of creativity and discipline. It may be even more difficult than most professions in the world. When it comes to being a doctor, there are books you can read.
I started primary school at the age of 5 when my father retired from the Nigerian Civil Service and we returned home. While in Nigeria, I recall that I attended nursery school, but of course my memory of those days is quite hazy. I started school in Sierra Leone at the Christ Church primary school, then moved to the Cathedral Boys School and finally to the Tower Hill Municipal school where I took my Common Entrance Examination, now called National Primary School Examination (NPSE) and proceeded to the Prince of Wales Secondary School. I have no idea why my parents moved me and my younger brother from one primary school to another, but I suspect they were not quite satisfied with the education I was receiving.
Recognising Top-Ranking Individuals And Organisations Across The Global Banking Industry
The MD (right) Ade adebiyi picking up the awards from the organizers of the International Banker Awards in London.
The International Banker Awards 2019 are established to recognize top-ranking individuals and organizations setting new benchmarks for performance and pushing the boundaries within the financial industry.
Susu, also spelled Soussou, or Soso, people living in the southern coastal regions of Guinea and the north-western parts of Sierra Leone. They speak a dialect of Susu-Yalunka, a language belonging to the Mande branch of the Niger-Congo language.
For many years now we see that the prices of goods are tied to the rise and fall of the American dollar in the Sierra Leone Market structure. And dollar price even determines the prices of local commodities. The leone continues to depreciate against foreign currencies and this places a heavy burden on businesses in the country.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR SL MINING TO COMMENCE SHIPMENT OF MARAMPA BLUE
Freetown, 17th August 2019.The Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources (MMMR) and the National Minerals Agency (NMA) note with grave concern several publications in the mainstream and social media, by SL Mining Limited (SL Mining), challenging the terms and conditions outlined in a letter of 13 August 2019 from the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources.
One thing that is distinct about the Bio led SLPP Government is the appointment of highly educated individuals and professionals to key positions whom the populace confidently believe have the wherewithal to deliver as per their mandates and responsibilities. The proposed NATCOM Chairman Mohamed Fouad Sheriff fits well into this category.
Mohamed Fouad Sheriff is a Sierra Leonean who holds a Bachelor of Science with Honors degree and a Master of Technology in Aquaculture with vast experience in Fisheries Planning, Fisheries Management and Project Management.
Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (alias De Monk) is the outgoing National Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists; Secretary General of the charity All ‘Works’ of Life development association, and President of Development and Economic Journalists Association-Sierra Leone.
Nasralla is a professional Journalist and Sierra Leone’s foremost political cartoonist. He’s publisher of the famous satirical column called Ticha Lemp Lemp, which has now been registered as a newspaper with the Independent Media Commission and will soon hit the newsstands and online.
He is married to Margaret Yeama Nasralla (nee Kromah) with whom he has three children- Andre 12, Nefertiti 7 and Mikayla 2.
Emerging Explore, Obama Africa Leader During the one year in which I’ve served as Chief Innovation Officer for the Government of Sierra Leone, it has become clear to me that “expert consultants” and “technical assistants” (local and especially international experts) might be one major reason why institutions of African governments have remained stagnated.
In the last year, I have worked closely with several heads of international NGOs and granted audience to dozens of “technical experts” representing those organizations. Dozens of other independent consultants have also engaged with either myself directly or with members of my team. These consultants either come as part of an aid or loan package to the country or as independent agencies who have found a way to promise the government 'a how to solve its problems' for a stated fee.
Friends, partners, and distinguished guests, Good morning.
I bring you warm greetings from the people of Sierra Leone. We are most pleased to be here with you, our international partners, representatives of potential investors and financial institutions, new friends, and our oldest friends, the representatives of the British government.
With British teams as the sole contestants for and winners of The Champions League and the Europa Cup, who says the UK is not a safe bet?
I was deceived by my parents that Sierra Leone is a land of milk and honey. I am over 30 years’ now, and I am yet to taste the sweetness of the milk and honey.
Why did my parents lie to me?
In this country, you work hard but earn so little and you’ll have no choice but to continue to work harder, look all stressed out and look older before your age. To me, that is the true paradox of a country describes as a country with milk and honey.
Foreign Affairs (in my view) is our government’s strategy for dealing with other countries in terms of international relations with respect to the interest of Sierra Leone and fearlessly executing that strategy to meet the growth aspiration of Sierra Leone.
I commend the administration of H.E. President Bio for pivoting from aid to economic diplomacy with emphases on investment and trade, but now is the time to unleash a holistic Foreign Policy anchored in balanced international partnerships and bold ambition to deliver on a six-point national growth aspiration for Sierra Leone vis-à-vis economic development, human capital development, national security enhancement, human rights protection, meaningful diaspora engagement and respectful global standing!
What about the Ethnic Apartheid of the APC of President Ernest Bai Koroma between 2008 and March, 2018?
You were blind to it then; and you want to pretend now that tribal politics was not the centerpiece of the APC in the public sector?
Didn't you read my four-part serial titled "The Tribal Card: Not a Wise Option for Any Governing Party"; published in 2014 in THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN, while I was media adviser to President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House?
If I am to publish a magazine focusing on young people, newspaper focusing on human interest stories; this young man will be the face of all my publications. I will celebrate him for his legacy and seek help for his beautiful daughter.
Late Kelvin Kamara, popularly known by his friends as American Stress, others call him the Great Promoter, Celebrity, Philanthropist and many more. From my end, I had always called him the Man that saved the lives of 40 people in his community.
The High Court of Sierra Leone, holden at Makeni,on Wednesday 8th May, 2019, and presided over by HON JUSTICE UNISA KAMARA, convicted two Head Teachers, EDWARD MOMODU SALIFU MANSARAYof the Roman Catholic Primary School Kabala; and ANDREW SAIO MANSARAYof the Wesleyan Church Sierra Leone Primary School, Kabala, Koinadugu District, on two counts of Soliciting and Accepting Advantage, contrary to Section 28(2);and Abuse of Office, contrary to Section 42(1) of the Anti-corruption Act No. 12 of 2008 respectively, after both men pleaded guilty.
It is very alarming and unfortunate to hear that the current batch of West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) candidates sitting this very important life determining/changing public examinations are complaining of intimidation and harassment.
To recap, it is a fact that on Thursday 11 April 2019, the government of Sierra Leone paid Le3,527,730,000 and Le16,200,000,000 to the West Africa Examination Council to cover examination payment for pupils taking both the National Primary School Examination (NPSE) and the West Africa Senior Secondary School Examination (WASSCE) respectively, in this year’s April - June public examinations. The payments cover pupils in government and government-assisted schools across Sierra Leone.
Indulging in corrupt practices in Sierra Leone has become a norm to almost every Sierra Leonean. The teacher demands sex for grades. The police extort money from commercial drivers. The civil servant cannot look for a file without greasing his/her palm. The human Resource Officer cannot give job to a lady without forcefully fallen in love with her. The pupils/students rely on leakage and spying to pass an examination. The potential bidder for a product that has been advertised to supply an organization bribes to be favoured for a contract that his institution does not have the man power or knowledge or good.
By Emperor Bailor Jalloh, PV Freetown Bureau Chief
Gearing towards the re-birth of a new nation, the current President of Republic of Sierra Leone Brigadier Retired Julius Maada Bio who has just clocked a calendar year in state governance on Thursday April 4, 2019 had waged robust legal wars on three key state enemies: Corruption, Indiscipline and Poverty- eyeing the brighter future of Sierra Leone with his popularly known " New Direction" administration.
President Bio was duly elected President of Sierra Leone during the March 31,2018 presidential run-off election under the ticket of the then opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) and was officially declared president elect on April 4,2018 by the national Returning Officer/ Chief Electoral Commissioner Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh of the National Electoral Commission ( NEC).