๐…๐ข๐ซ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐‹๐š๐๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐’๐ข๐ž๐ซ๐ซ๐š ๐‹๐ž๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ƒ๐ซ. ๐…๐š๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐š ๐Œ๐š๐š๐๐š ๐๐ข๐จ ๐‚๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐”๐ง๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐š๐ญ ๐๐ซ๐ž-๐‹๐ž๐ ๐ข๐ฌ๐ฅ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐‡๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐ง ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ’ ๐‚๐ก๐ข๐ฅ๐ ๐Œ๐š๐ซ๐ซ๐ข๐š๐ ๐ž ๐๐ซ๐จ๐ก๐ข๐›๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ

๐‰๐ฎ๐ง๐ž ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ—, ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ’

Sierra Leoneโ€™s First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio joined MPs at parliament for the pre-legislative hearing on the bill entitled the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2024.

In her statement, Dr. Fatima Maada Bio urged MPs to view the Bill as a national and non-partisan initiative. She shared her personal connection to the cause, revealing that she was once a victim of child marriage and still feels its impact. Her Excellency called on MPs to consider the Bill as a crucial step for Sierra Leone’s children, irrespective of religious or political affiliations. She emphasized that the Bill aims to address the widespread issues faced by both girls and boys in the country.

Her Excellency also called for peace and stability, noting that progress is impossible without them. She praised MPs who have supported the Bill and highlighted the importance of unity in achieving national goals. She concluded by asserting that putting politics aside reveals Sierra Leone’s potential for greatness and doing the right thing is always the best course of action.

Speaking on the importance of the hearing, Hon. Mariama Munia Zombo, who is piloting the Bill in Parliament, emphasized that this legislation will be a historic milestone in child protection in Sierra Leone. She stated that addressing the numerous challenges posed by child marriage requires comprehensive legislation, as individual ministries cannot tackle these issues alone. Hon. Zombo praised the First Lady and President Dr. Julius Maada Bio for the Gender Equality and Womenโ€™s Empowerment Act, 2023, which has significantly increased female representation in governance. She cited the constitutional mandate empowering Parliament to enact laws and stressed the importance of the Bill in allowing children to enjoy their childhoods and thrive academically and socially.

Hon. Abdul S. Marray Conteh, Chairman of the Legislative Committee, commended the First Lady and reiterated the Bill’s importance in combating child marriage. The Leader of the main Opposition Party APC, Hon. Abdul Kargbo, praised the cross-party collaboration among women and assured the First Lady of their support in passing the Bill into law.

Hon. Mattew Sahr Nyuma, Leader of Government Business, lauded the First Lady’s dedication to children’s welfare, referring to her as the “Messiah for the Children in Sierra Leone,” and emphasized the Bill’s significance under the “Hands Off Our Girls” initiative.

Many other MPs made meaningful contributions in the committee room and expressed their commitment to supporting this bill to ensure it becomes law.

โ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆ.

Strategic Communications Division,

Office of the First Lady,

Republic of Sierra Leone.

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