First Lady, Dr. Fatima Maada Bio, has on Friday 10th March 2023 at the Auditorium of the City Council Building in Freetown engaged adolescent boys in an open and frank conversation on the Hands Off Our Girls campaign.
The official launch of the ‘male-strategy’ of the Hands Off Our Girls campaign targeted over 1,000 adolescent male pupils from various secondary schools in the country.
Her Excellency the First Lady educated the boys on the need for them to embrace gender equity and equality as a yardstick for development and not to see it as a competition between men and women.
“Without gender equity, development is stifled,” the First Lady emphasized while urging the boys to focus on their education and support their female counterparts.
Her Excellency spoke of her passion towards the welfare of the boys, while noting that her focus on the girls over the years is to ensure proper grooming for the most vulnerable groups.
She announced that the Hands Off Our Girls male strategy seeks to achieve a better understanding of the welfare of the boys and ensure they are empowered with the required education to partner with and support the girl child.
She used the platform as an opportunity to thank President Bio for the free quality education initiative with special reference to the radical inclusion policy which has ensured vulnerable groups including girls stay in school against all odds.
“President Bio’s free quality education has ensured that boys will only stay out of school as a matter of choice,” she narrated, while encouraging the boys to ensure they stay in schools.
She used the platform as an opportunity to appreciate all stakeholders that have been collaborating with the Hands Off Our Girls campaign.
She called on the boys to take advantage of the solid foundation President Bio is laying for them.
He advised the boys to be mindful of politicians that will want to use them for violence and other electoral malpractices.
“Election is a game for policies and ideas and not violence,” she pointed out, adding: “Election is not for children but politicians.”
She used the forum as an opportunity to highlight the successes of the Hands Off Our Girls campaign, which include heightened awareness, the establishment of a special court for rape cases, the review of the sexual offences act, the free sanitary pads distribution, the ongoing construction of a 500-bed hospital complex and the adoption of two United Nations Resolutions to accelerate and ensure justice, protection and remedies for women and girls, among others.
The school boys had the opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions and share opinions on welfare and other relevant issues.
The Country Director for Care International expressed appreciation to the First Lady for the introduction of the Hands Off Our Girls male-strategy, which according to her, perfectly aligns with the work of her institution.
The boys were treated to electrifying music performance from leading musical acts like Rap Gee, Star Zee, Famous and Empress P.