Sierra Leoneโ€™s First Lady, Dr. Fatima Maada Bio, joined forces with the First Lady of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria and Angola to lead a Muslim prayer at the State Lodge, marking the UN World Day for the Prevention of Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Violence.

On November 17, 2023, the prayer, led by First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio, alongside the First Lady of Angola and Nigeria, was a significant event aimed at raising awareness about preventing and healing from child sexual exploitation, abuse, and violence. It symbolized solidarity and a shared commitment to addressing these critical issues.

Her Excellency , Dr. Fatima Maada Bio stressed the importance of safeguarding children from exploitation, abuse, and violence, emphasizing the need for collective action to create a safe environment for them to thrive.

Highlighting Sierra Leone’s commitment to gender equality, she shared insights into the religious tolerance evident in her marriage to President Julius Maada Bio, a devout Christian. This diversity was reflected in the Islamic prayer held today and the Christian commemoration scheduled for tomorrow.

Acknowledging the Nigerian First Lady’s commitment to championing women and girls’ protection globally, she commended her as a role model.

Addressing survivors, First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio urged them not to see themselves as victims but to recognize the shame lies with those who harmed them. She assured survivors of the government’s commitment to stand with them, provide healing, and encouraged them to reclaim their pride as Sierra Leoneans.

Her Excellency, The First Lady of Angola, Dr. Ana Dias Lourenco, emphasized the urgency of addressing child sexual exploitation, abuse, and violence, urging concerted efforts to support and protect vulnerable children.

Her Excellency, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the First Lady of the Federal of Nigeria, echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the importance of proactive measures, education, awareness, and advocacy in combating child sexual exploitation.

The Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs expressed solidarity with survivors, shedding light on the country’s efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence, including President Bio’s commitment to declare rape a public health emergency.

Highlighting the establishment of the Sexual Offences Act of 2012 and a model court for sexual offences, she called for collective collaboration to reduce this global crisis. She urged the use of technology to prevent online and offline offences and improve the criminal justice system.

In his keynote address, His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio highlighted the government’s strides in empowering women and girls, including the Human Capital Development Initiative and the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Act. The Muslim prayer conducted by these influential figures served as a poignant reminder of the global commitment to protecting children and promoting their well-being.

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Strategic Communications Division

Office of the First Lady

Republic of Sierra Leone.

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