The Office of the First Lady of Sierra Leone has, on Saturday December 10th 2022, held a High Level Dinner at the State Lodge in Freetown, to mark the fourth anniversary of H.E. First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio’s hugely successful flagship program known as “Hands Off Our Girls Campaign”.
It may be recalled that this Campaign was launched by His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio in December 2018 specifically to bring awareness, influence policy, and support women and girls to have access to reproductive healthcare and treatment for conditions like Fistula and Cancer. The Campaign also works to eliminate abuses like Early Childhood Marriage, Gender-Based Violence and Rape.
The launching was witnessed four years ago by a galaxy of First Ladies from all across Africa who all flew into Sierra Leone to join hands with Sierra Leone First Lady.
This year, the 4th Anniversary celebrations witnessed the esteemed President of Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) H.E. First Lady of Namibia Mrs. Monica Geingos, accompanied by her distinguished husband His Excellency the President of Namibia Dr. Hage Geingob.
Making a statement at the auspicious gathering to mark her successes and achievements under the Flagship program, First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio showered praises on H.E. President Maada Bio for his continued support towards the vision of “Hands Off Our Girls” through which safer spaces are enabled for Women and Girls in nation-building.
“What this man has sacrificed so as to support me and to push me to succeed in the things that I have been able to achieve, is unimaginable,” the First Lady said as she paid tribute to H.E. President Bio.
She recalled that the mandate to bridging the gap between the Government and the People through the campaign, was one specifically given to her by the President himself, upon assuming power in 2018. She further commended President Bio for also validating the Gender Empowerment Bill, which has, for the first time, given Women in Sierra Leone, a significant percent quota in every office including even the private sector.
She underscored the massive gains that President Bio has made in fighting
corruption in Sierra Leone. She said her husband’s leadership has led to the country achieving an enviable status for Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact deal for four consecutive years; mainly due to a landmark decline in the country’s previously astronomical corruption index.
Therefore, the First Lady remarked that the 4th year anniversary of the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign, is specifically occasioned to celebrate His Excellency the President for his leadership as well as to recognize other key stakeholders and partner institutions who have believed in the vision of the project and supported it as well.
Recognizing the presence of the distinguished Namibian First Couple, the Sierra Leone First Lady thanked Namibia’s First Lady Dr. Monica Geingos for embracing her as a peer regardless of their age difference. She said the Namibian First Lady took her as an Equal and worked with her to cling to her Visions for the Hand Off Our Girls Campaign. She thanked the President of Namibia for also graciously accepting the Invite to Sierra Leone.
The event itself, was full of pomp and pageantry with entertainment performances by some of the country’s best Artists.
The 4th Anniversary celebrations for the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign, also screened a short documentary about the 500 Beds Hospital Complex, Nursing School, Administrative Building and Center of Excellence for treating Victims of Sexual Violence amongst other structures and entities that Sierra Leone First Couple were building at the country’s 34 Military Hospital compound along Wilberforce in Freetown.
During the celebrations, the Namibian First Couple and the Sierra Leone First Couple jointly lit up a massive Christmas Tree up at the Sierra Leone Presidential Residence.
Strategic Communication Division
Office of the First Lady