On 1ST July 2019, in an interview with the Chief Executive Officer of Manor River International Entertainment Company, Henrietta Mbawah, it was disclosed that in April 2019 the MRIE Company organised Miss Manor River Union International Beauty Pageant show in Freetown. She said the show was geared towards empowering 80 night workers (20 from each country) with farm lands and tools to enable them engage in Agriculture. She further explained that Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone participated in the show and the winner of that competition was from Liberia and her platform was agriculture.
Henrietta Mbawah further said that ‘Sierra Leone lives Matter’ and the Manor River International Entertainment Company show is unique and different from the other shows, as it is geared towards advocating for women who suffer from gender based violence in their schools, universities, and communities, adding that the theme for this year is ‘gender based violence as part of goal 5 of the sustainable development goal’.
She further disclosed that each of the contestants was asked to choose a platform that they will use in order to achieve the goal of the beauty pageant, which is to stop gender based violence and the empowerment of women and girls in the manor river union countries when they win.
However, she said the current winner is from Liberia and a student of the University of Liberia. Agriculture is the platform she chose to empower women and girls, as she believes that if women are capacitated in Agriculture, they will increase agricultural productivity and reduce gender based violence in the sub region.
Henrietta Mbawah further added that the winner from Liberia’s platform, ‘agriculture’, will be launched in July in Liberia where 20 night workers have been identified to be empowered with farm lands and farming tools to produce food items like pepper, cabbage, carrot, garden eggs etc. This will in turn empower them financially and take them from the streets.
After the launch, the winner will also take a tour to Manor River union countries to engage young girls in twenty secondary schools and 10 communities in order to encourage them to take part in agriculture and say no to Gender Based Violence.
She ended by emphasizing that they decided to work with Night workers because they are considered less privileged and marginalised by society and in their trade, they are the most direct victims of gender based violence. Having done research on the activities of some of these night workers in the four West African countries in the Mano River basin, during their bid to select the 20 beneficiaries of the project, they discovered that most of these nights workers are in the street because they don’t have alternative employment and are willing to leave the street if they have an alternate source of income generation.
In conclusion, Henrietta Mbawah expressed appreciation to the following institutions for their sponsorship: Africell, Africa Young Voices Media Empire, Sierra Leone Brewery Limited, Sierra Leone Bottling Company, Leone Oil, Rokel Commercial Bank, Ministry of Youth Affairs, Ministry of Tourism and the National Youth Commission; and called on them for their subsequent support, especially the Ministry of Youth Affairs to help them with farm land for the 20 night workers that will be selected in Sierra Leone to engage in agriculture for the next one year.