Her Excellency the first Lady of Sierra Leone, Madam Fatima Maada Bio, in continuation of creating the awareness of “Girls being girls not mothers or sexual slaves” has on Saturday, 12th October, 2019 launched the “Hands Off Our Girls Campaign” in Koidu city, Kono District, Eastern Sierra Leone.
In attendance were eminent stakeholders of Kono District including the Mayor of Kono District, His worship Matthew Komba Sam, Professor Kpakima, Minister of Higher Education, Hon. Rebecca Kamara, Paramount Chief Paul Garba Saquee and a host of many others.
Welcoming the First Lady and entourage to Kono District on behalf of her constituents, Honourable Rebecca Kamara on behalf of her constituents said the people of Kono appreciate Madam Bio’s initiative on the campaign against sexual penetration on girls and all forms of violence against women in the district.
“Finally, the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign will take full force in our beloved district. For too long our girls have been used and abused by our inconsiderable men and it’s about time we fight together and put this menace to rest,” she maintained.
Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Professor Kpakima, spoke on the aspect of education as the recipe for girl child. He applauded the First Lady for her courage in inspiring the fight to promote girl child through education and also discouraged any form of outrage directed towards the girl child by men through sexually penetrating them, stating that was the main cause of teenage pregnancy and school dropouts.
He reiterated that the government is committed to creating an enabling environment for the children to be well catered for through the free quality education programme.
“We must allow these girls to be, this is a caution for mothers, fathers, guardians, men and boys in communities, we should give helping hands to girls so that they can educate and not to be factors in destroying their future,”she warned.
In her keynote address, the First Lady, Madam Fatima Bio, praised the people of Kono for their firm stance to be in the program despite it was raining.
She said that as a daughter of Kono District, it is always a special feeling for her in trying to give back to the land.
“Today, I have come to discuss something very important to all the women in the district, which is also equally important to all level headed and reasonable men in the district. I am here today to officially launch the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign. This campaign as I have always mentioned is not a campaign by me alone, but it is the people’s campaign,” she noted.
“I am also officially handing over this campaign to our respectable Paramount Chiefs and their wives who are all first ladies from the district.
Madam Fatima Bio also expressed with dismay how so many girls have suffered from the despicable behaviours of men which have resulted to the untimely death of many girls around the country.
“Our girls are dying everyday and it’s not secret. Sierra Leone is among the nations with the highest mortality rate not just in Africa, but the world at large,” She emphasised.
Madam Fatima Bio also stated that due to negligence on the side of the parents and community stakeholders, the same wrong thing is seen repeated and young girls who are impregnated die during labour.
“We must not accept these people in our society, people who are tarnishing the name of our district and destroying the future of our children,” she said.
The Hands Off Our Girls Campaign was launched less than a year ago by Her Excellency Fatima Bio which is aimed at putting an end to rape, sexual penetration, sexual related violences amongst others.
Kono District is the second district to get the awareness of the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign after Bombali District in the north where the First Lady also launched the initiative on Friday, 11th October, 2019.
Department of Strategic Communications
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