Caritas Freetown Commemorates IWD in Two Waterloo Communities

By Millicent Senava Mannah

One of the leading organizations promoting women’s rights and other areas of development, Caritas Freetown, with support from Civil Peace Service, commemorated International Women’s Day with residents of two communities in Waterloo, Mansantigie and Matainkay, under the global theme, “Invest in Women, Accelerate Progress”, “Put Value Pa Uman for Den Quick Betteh” during an event that was held at the Mansantigie Community.

Tobias Grosse of Civil Peace Society said every day is an International Women’s day and that women must be celebrated on a daily basis.

According to him, women must be aware of the rights that have been given to them by the GEWE Act encouraging men to be protectors to women and not perpetrators enjoining investment in them to accelerate. He also maintained that more women need to participate in politics as the corridors have already been opened to them.

The Keynote Speaker from the Women’s Advocacy & Agricultural Organization, Madam Doris Webber, commended President Bio for the enactment of the GEWE Bill, which she said has opened the corridors for more women participation in politics. She however emphasized the need for more women participation in politics.

“With the GEWE Act, women now make up 34% of Councillors, 14% of Mayors, 28% of Deputy Mayors, 34% of Cabinet Ministers and 28% of Paramount Chiefs in the country,” Madam Webber further commended.

According to her,  the GEWE Act has not only given women 30% quota in politics  but it has also created access  to financial loans, land, property amongst others for women.

Madam Webber emphasized the need for them to join hands together in order to foster the growth of their communities.

She noted that Caritas and CPS have added value in the lives of women in these communities through their Village Savings Loan Account (VSLA), maintaining how women in these communities are now able to save and help cater for their family needs.

Sallaymatu Koroma of Family Support Unit, Waterloo Police Division admonished women in the two communities to speak up when they are assaulted, raped or when their children are sexually penetrated.

She maintained that women must add value to their men adding that they must empower themselves to help cater for their children and to contribute meaningfully in their communities.

Lucky Bah, from the Sexual Gender Based Violence Team, Caritas Freetown, said the organization has been working on the project catering for survivors of rape and sexual penetration, and that they understand that sometimes families do not have money to report sexual penetration cases, so they provide financial aid for them to seek justice, creating trainings for survivors and also provide educational support for young girls

“We also work with Law enforcement agencies to help in the fight against SGBV. We have worked in different communities across the country,” it was stated.

Gifty Johnson, Social Service Officer in the Ministry of Social Welfare encouraged women to be submissive to their husbands, stating how men can also be victims of Gender Based Violence.

She admonished for change of attitudes also appealing for them to be supportive to their husbands and ensure they take good care of their children.

Emma Kamara, who spoke on behalf of the women of Matainkay Community, said they are grateful to the organization for sensitizing them about their rights also disclosing that violence against women and girls has minimized.

She maintained that through the organization’s VSLA, they are now saving for their future and helping their husbands to take care of family needs.

Fatmata Kargbo of Mansantigie Community said with the Village Saving Loan Account, she can now boast of owning a house which she built by herself. She also stated that the more pressing challenge they are facing is the social malaise of Kush intake by some residents pleading to the organization to help them eradicate its presence.

Climaxing the event were a question and answer as well as an interactive session.


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