By Foday Moriba Conteh
Her Excellency Dr. Fatima Maada Bio, the First Lady of Sierra Leone, has urged members of the Network of Women Ministers and Parliamentarians (NeWMaP) to collaborate collectively, setting aside their political affiliations. The call for unity came during the official launch of NeWMaP by His Excellency President Dr. Rtd Brig Julius Maada Bio at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Freetown on Tuesday, November 21, 2023.
In her address, First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio emphasized the crucial role that women play in shaping policies and driving positive change in society. Her remarks reflected a commitment to advancing gender equality and promoting women’s empowerment within Sierra Leone’s political landscape.
The event marked a significant milestone in establishing a supportive network for women leaders, offering them a platform to advocate for gender-responsive policies and initiatives. The First Lady challenged NeWMaP to undertake joint programs, promote collaboration, design interventions, and ensure holistic inclusivity in their activities. She addressed the impact of climate change on women and children, expressing gratitude to individuals, groups, and the government of Sierra Leone for their efforts.
Delivering the keynote address, President Dr. Julius Maada Bio recognized the achievements of women, emphasizing that their contributions can no longer be ignored. He encouraged women to be role models and mentors, stating that investing in women is the best kind of investment. President Bio confirmed the enactment of the 30% quota for women, congratulated the elected and appointed female members, and called for unity across political spectrums. The President concluded by officially launching NeWMaP, marking a testament to women leading and striving.
Additional statements were made by the Country Director of Trocaire and the Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs. The meeting was chaired by the Special Adviser to the President on Gender, Madam I.J Kabba.
The official launch of the Network of Women Ministers and Parliamentarians represented a pivotal moment in promoting women’s participation in governance. The event signaled a concerted effort to create avenues for women to actively engage in decision-making processes and contribute to national development. It demonstrated a commitment to breaking barriers and fostering an inclusive environment where women can play significant roles in shaping policies and driving progress.