By Foday Moriba Conteh
The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Fatima Maada Bio recently shared her reflections on the country’s journey towards protecting and empowering women. In a heartfelt statement, she expressed immense joy and hope for the future of women and girls, emphasizing the strides made despite various challenges.
Acknowledging the evolving role of women in nation-building, Dr. Bio highlighted recent reforms that have significantly increased women’s participation in governance. Sierra Leone, she proudly proclaimed, now stands among Africa’s leading countries with a notable representation of women in key Government positions, echoing the transformative steps witnessed in Rwanda and Senegal.
Drawing parallels with Rwanda and Senegal’s development, she underscored the criticality of prioritizing women’s rights in nation-building. President Julius Maada Bio’s administration, mirroring these principles, has actively championed women’s empowerment. Initiatives increasing women’s involvement in decision-making and the Free Education program fostering greater access for girls to quality education are among the notable strides made.
Dr. Bio passionately endorsed her Hands Off Our Girls Campaign, aligning with the President’s vision and supporting various initiatives. The campaign’s focus on distributing sanitary pads, conducting sensitization programs, and advocating for girls’ education has yielded significant successes, contributing to their academic excellence and empowerment.
Furthermore, she emphasized the Government’s commitment to justice by establishing specialized courts and conducting reforms to expedite legal proceedings, especially for women held in prisons without trial.
Highlighting the critical need for improved healthcare, Dr. Bio spearheads the construction of a 600-bed hospital at the 34 Military Hospital in Freetown. This significant initiative aims to enhance women’s health and reduce the country’s high maternal and infant mortality rates.
Dr. Bio commended the collective efforts of various women-led initiatives and community groups, recognizing their commitment to fostering discussions and mentorship programs. These grassroots endeavors underscore the collective dedication of Sierra Leonean women to the nation’s development.
Expressing confidence in the future, she envisages that the stories of present leadership and the invaluable contributions of women and girls will feature prominently in Sierra Leone’s development narrative.
Dr. Fatima Maada Bio’s sentiments echo a renewed sense of hope, reflecting the collective determination and efforts of the nation’s women and girls toward a brighter future for Sierra Leone.