Save the Children has conducted the Early Forced Marriage Project Adolescent Summit, held on Tuesday 19 September, 2023 at The Family Kingdom Resort, Aberdeen.
The Summit objectives focuses on the increase awareness of adolescent well-being in Sierra Leone, Stimulate action through engagements national, and local levels to shape the Agenda for Action for Adolescent and the Building of a strong audience for long-term demand and action on accountability, contributing to Progress towards SDG2030.
Speaking on the rationale behind the summit, Madam Modupe Taiwo, Project Director pointed out that Save the Children is joining the rest of the world to support the global campaign for adolescent well-being, adding that they are also bringing to memory that there has been some commitment that the government and the United Nations have made to improve the lives of Adolescent.
“This day we are bringing back to memory to ensure that everyone, every stakeholders , every Adults whose suppose to do one thing or the other to make lives comfortable for you are reminded and these are issues that have been put together in what we called sustainable development goal ,” She noted.
She described sustainable development goals as an agenda that has been written that all nations of the world have agreed to it to make sure that the lives of adolescent and young people in our nation are a lot better. He cited that one of which is to go to school, have access to good quality education, conducive environment and Medical Care . She affirmed that Adolescent should go to school where teachers are well trained and can also impact Knowledge on them adding that schools with proper toilet facility so that when girls are menstruating for three or five days they can still be in School so they don’t miss out . She described all these services [food, Shelter and clothing] as the basics needs of life. She further confirmed that they are working with Organization mobilizing other youths and Adolescent from across the globe to mobilize 1.8 Billion Adolescents.
Representing the International Pediatric Association, Dr. Nellie V. T. Bello who serves as the Head of Department at the Ola During Children’s Hospital revealed they many may think that they only deal with Children that are Under 5. She affirmed that they have been managing children from 19 to 0 years . She further revealed that for long time Pediatricians have been concentrating on under 5 Children and they have realized that the focus on adolescents is also important. She believes it is important because the mortality rate in the adolescent age group is low compare to under 5 and 10 . She confirmed that the mortality and Morbidity in their age group is mostly preventable and treatable.
The National Secretariat for the reduction of Teenage Pregnancy and Child Marriage, Communications and Administrative Officer Victor G. Karimu thank Save the Children for Organizing the Summit. He revealed that Adolescent Sexual reproductive health services are essential for Adolescent to remain and Complete Secondary education. He emphasized that the government of Sierra and many of its International Partners recognizes teenage pregnancy , Child marriage , Gender based Violence affecting adolescents are significant issues that have enormous consequences for Girls as well as Boys
An Adolescent beneficiary from Kailahun District, Alpha Samuel Said “I want to thank Save the Children and the CEFM Project for what they have done for my family and I . Impacting my life, Save the Children facilitated my presence at the Coal research group. The Provision of biscuit and drinks also help to motivate us to be part of the Safe Space Class, In my family, it was a norm that my father and mother don’t consult each other and us the children in terms of decision making. Since the Start of this Project and intervention of the Gender Equality Champions in the Kailahun villages , they taught my Parents about the Importance of consultations in terms of decision making,”
In a strategic move to show strong sign of appreciation, Hawa Musa, a female Adolescent from Kailahun District instructed members of the summit to give Save the Children a round of applause. She confirmed that their community was notorious for early Child marriage and Teenage Pregnancy but the coming of Project helped to change the narrative through education about the risks and dangers especially when their body is not fully matured. She added that the Safe Space created by the Project has helped to build her confidence in terms of Public Speaking adding that Save the Children facilitates the boarding of flight to Burkina Faso to discuss about Girls issue.
Patrick Sesay, An Adolescent from N0.2 River thank Save the Children for their Presence at the No 2 Community through the CEFM Project. He revealed that he was in the habit of leaving all the domestic chores with his sister as he then focused on playing football. Through Save the Children Safe Space, he revealed that he learnt about about Gender Equality and also the importance of sharing domestic Chores together at home
The Summit was climaxed with a breakout sessions on various themes leading to the drafting of a communique.