ACSHR Conference: Nigerian First Lady Aisha Buhari, Delegates From 41 Countries to Jet into Sierra Leone

Purposeful, a feminist organization for girls’ activism in Sierra Leone with support from UNFPA is set to host the 10th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights (ACSHR) in Freetown.

“Accelerating the Elimination of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Africa” is the theme for the international conference which will be held at Bintumani Conference Centre, starting today, 27th June to 1st July, 2022.

Its Sierra Leone’s largest international conference that will bring together 900 delegates including 350 youth activists from 41 countries with social campaigners, academics, policy makers and influencers to acknowledge the progress made in Sierra Leone and across Africa in the fight against sexual gender base violence and to identify means to accelerate the elimination of sexual gender base violence in the continent.

The conference will focus on knowledge sharing, consciousness raising, and coalition building to prevent and mitigate SGBV across settings, including in fragile and crisis contexts and online.

It will target to amplify voices of survivors of SGBV in diverse settings by cantering the leadership, lived experience and strategic actions of survivors across all conference activity.

The conference which will utilise a range of innovative methodologies, traditional plenary and workshop sessions, will also serve as a platform promising programmatic policy practices in ending SGBV; hold spaces of collective care, wellness, and healing for all and facilitate dialogue on accountability and financing the flight to end SGBV.

The 900 delegates aged from 13 to 75 will participate in over 45 curated sessions. First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Madam Fatima Maada Bio, Chief Patron, and the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari are among the twelve headline speakers and contributors of the high level conference, organized in collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone.

The Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights is part of a long term process of building and fostering dialogue on sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa with the aim of advancing universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services for all.

Responding to a question as to why the conference is happening in Sierra Leone, Dr. Uwemedimo Uko describes Sierra Leone as a successful post conflict country that has lots of lessons to teach other Africans. As a country with thriving democracy, Uko thinks one of the ways to celebrate the new Sierra Leone is to host such significant occasions in the country.

He expresses excitement about the conference, saying such conferences would also be used to remember people like Khadija Saccoh, a five-year old kid who died after being raped last year and to demand justice for her.

Sierra Leone is hosting the conference not because it is the worst country when it comes to cases of sexual gender base violence, Dr. Uko said, “but it’s a country where we continue to remind ourselves that our development is not about politics, but our politics should be about development.” Dr. Uwemedimo Uko was speaking during a media ‘meet and greet’, organized by Purposeful to brief the press ahead of the conference on the 29th June – 1st July.

Purposeful, the organization hosting ACSHR 10th conference is also a feminist hub for girls’ activism, rooted in Africa and working all around the world. Born out of Sierra Leone and a deep of partnership formed through work across the Continent and beyond, Purposeful draws deep inspiration from anti-imperialist and feminist movements. Cantering the political power of young feminists across the world, the organization work so that girls and their allies have access to the resources, networks, and platforms they need to power their activism and remake the world.

According to Purposeful, daily sessions will be held concurrently in rooms named to celebrate districts of Sierra Leone. Along this, the delegates can immerse themselves in two international exhibitions celebrating activism, resistance, solidarity and joy, ‘Resistance Stories’ and ‘Black Girl Play’. There will be a girl Market with local artists, designers and creatives selling their work. Live performances from musicians, dancers and poet will all part of the part of the important conference.

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