On the margins of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA, Tuesday 20 September 2022
Her Excellency Dr Fatima Maada Bio congratulated H.E Mrs Monica Geingos First Lady of Namibia as the new President of the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) and called on the organisation to focus on gender issues. OAFLAD is an advocacy organization where First Ladies of Africa seek to leverage their unique position to advocate for policies that make health services accessible and laws that boost women and youth empowerment.
“As first Ladies, our first responsibility is to protect our women and children . Let us concentrate on containing and eradicating gender-based violence
” Personally, it will be very difficult for me to divert my attention to any other thing right now because I have a campaign that has gone beyond my country, it’s a global campaign with a very simple slogan ‘Hands of Our Girls’ the campaign is to advocate for everything that makes women safe and empowers them, she said.
Her Excellency recalled that last year she put together a resolution to have access to justice for all rape victims around the world and the United Nations passed it on the 2nd of September 2022, Issues that concerns women need to be prioritised as she will be meeting the United Nations and ask them to give November 18 as a day that will allow rape victims to congregate and communicate.
” When we talk about rape victims, there are various categories , for me early marriage in Africa is a clandestine way of legalising rape Early marriage is having sex with an underage child who is forced to be in the marriage. Since covid-19 started with the associated restrictions , many women were victims of Sexual and Genfer Based violence in Africa, but we are not talking about SGBV issues in Africa for the fear that it will cost our husband’s election”
” I’m asking my sisters to take this as a global campaign. All African First Ladies should channel their voices in one direction and we will be heard. People don’t listen if you don’t have funding . We will get them to listen when we start the work on our own. We need to look beyound traditional funding sources and also engage organisations that believe in gender issues and want to change the world, using their organisation,” She argued.
First Lady went on to say, social media is a strong ally when it comes to promoting the agenda of OFLAD and getting international recognition and support .
” You will not be able to solve your problems in your bedroom, so we have to use social media wisely, to promote the African First Ladies campaign, a campaign that matters, a campaign that will touch people’s hearts, a campaign that people would believe in.
“I believe having a strong slogan would enhance our identity, So when we speak, we speak with one voice on behalf of Africa” she emphasised.
She concluded by asserting that OAFLAD should have a slogan that can identify them and also intensify their efforts to get sponsors on board. While branding for sponsors is important , it is imperative to engage sponsors that believe in our work here at OAFLAD. Sponsors that give grants, not for fame but for the satisfaction of the lives they will change .
Strategic Communications Division
Office of The First Lady.