By Amin Kef Sesay
During the launch of the GIRLS PLUS+ on the 6th July 2020, popular electronic media journalist, who is the Station Manager of the widely listened to Society for Radio Democracy on Frequency Modulation (FM) 98.1, also a Gender Activist, Asmaa Kamara James, delivered a touching keynote address aimed at targeting the whole nation.
She commenced by stating that in recent times, violations of women and child rights have been worrisome, with gender-based violence, inherent structural and cultural issues of representation facing women and girls.
According to her that was what led to the formation of The ASMAA JAMES FOUNDATION (AJF).
“The AJF promotes teenage sexual reproductive health and rights, with the objective of raising awareness, mobilizing women and girls to advocate and influence policies of gender-based violence, sexual reproductive health and highlight the growing incidence of rape and find possible care for victims in Sierra Leone,” she disclosed adding that as their movement became stronger when they realised that they cannot succeed if they do not include men/boys in the fight against abuse of our girls and women folk.
Asmaa said their experience over the years is that having boys and girls in the same room changes the conversation entirely: with girls mostly shy to contribute and boys taking the advantage to dominate in conversations.
The fearless activist expressed the view that such a familiar scene has ignited action adding that they cannot have that scenario as the status quo but we must create an equal platform that provides access to rights and education for every boy and girl in Sierra Leone.
She said that they are launching Girls Plus to help change that.
The go getter and charismatic media guru, in a brief synopsis, revealed how Girls Plus (Girls+) is a non-profit organization driven by community level interventions aimed at providing reproductive health education and services to adolescent boys and girls in Sierra Leone. She intimated how it will deliver programmes to help mitigate risks and incidences of sexual abuse and violence against adolescents in Sierra Leone.
“We will also primarily provide a platform for engagement of boys and girls on key sexual reproductive health issues to bridge communication gaps and break stereotypes,” she averred.
Asmaa said the AJ Foundation will be the major fundraising platform to support projects and activities of Girls+.
“I want to thank my husband, Ambrose, for believing in my ideas and for all his support. I would like to thank my boys, Mukeh and Muvaah, for pushing and challenging me to be not only a girl advocate, but also a boy advocate,” she expressed appreciation.
She also thanked her numerous partners, mentors and supporters, the small team of dedicated members for making Girls+ a reality. The rights activist also acknowledged the Board of Directors for accepting their role and challenge ending up with these appealing words, “When you see Girls+, please give your support”.