This was according to the company’s Corporate Affairs Officer, Joe Abass Bangura who was speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Company and the UN Women yesterday Tuesday 15th October at the Africell American Corner on Bathurst Street in Freetown.
The MoU was signed on the basis of which both organizations agree to corporate in promoting Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
Mr. Bangura told newsmen that the MoU covers 3 core areas of cooperate which include advocacy action on ending violence against women and girls; male engagement in advocacy and actions for gender equality and the empowerment of women; and institutional capacity strengthening on gender equality and the empowerment of women in Africell.
The corporate affairs officer went on to say his Company’s areas of intervention will include the establishment of a national toll-free line to report SGBV cases; hosting up of billboards carrying ‘ending violence against women and girls’ messages; use of Afri Radio for media engagement during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (and beyond); production of join campaign messages on advocacy materials on ending violence against women and girls and using other multi-media and communication initiatives to campaign on ending violence against women and girls.
In conclusion Mr. Bangura assured that Africell will continue to support all initiatives to get women more involved in national development, more engaged in promoting social justice, economic growth and security; leveraging their unique talents and make them strong partners in unlocking and building potentials all across the country.
Country Representative for UN Women, Dr. Mary Okumu, while thanking Africell said it was an honour to see the company supporting drives promoting and protecting rights of women and girls in the country.
She pointed out that the National Declaration of a State of Emergency on Rape and Sexual Violence against Women was a welcoming move by the government and assured that that was top on the UN Agenda in Sierra Leone.
According to Dr. Okumu, the rising movement by both women and men to end impunity for sexual abuse and build understanding of its enduring consequences has shown how with awareness comes the determination for change.
She said worldwide, 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence—most often by an intimate partner, adding that nearly 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday, and over 200 million have suffered female genital mutilation.
More than 70 percent of all trafficking victims worldwide, she concluded, are women and girls, and 3 out of 4 trafficked women and girls are sexually exploited. “This must end now”, she closed.
According to Africell, the free-toll line will be made public soonest, encouraging every person, especially the men, to join the fight against SGBV countrywide by calling the line to report any SGBV case.