On Friday 27th August 2021, First Lady, Madam Fatima Maada Bio visited the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces RSLAF Wilkinson Road barracks in fulfillment of the promise she made in providing micro-grants for female officers in the RSLAF.
Giving a welcome brief and purpose of the visit, Captain A.K Sesay conveyed their humility to have the First Lady for the 2nd time in their midst, adding that, it is the first time such an occurring visit is happening, due to the mother of the nation’s care, love and passion for women in the country.
She Confirmed that Her Excellency is a good listener and when she makes a promise, she always follow to the latter, which is what makes her admirable, while she urged her colleagues to emulate such positive characteristic.
Giving a brief detail of the visit, Captain Sesay gave a recap of when the First Lady organized an award ceremony for long serving influential and deserving female military personnel in the force during this year’s International Women’s day in March, where she committed herself to empower female staff of the force with her Micro-Grant Initiative, which she has been taking all over the country.
She encouraged her colleagues to make use of the opportunity by empowering themselves so that the effort of the First Lady will not go in vain.
The Chief of Defense Staff, Lt. Gen. Sullay I. Sesay (CDS) heartily welcomed the First Lady for her laudable effort in helping the women of the nation, noting that the initiative is one of the many ventures being carried out by the First Lady, while disclosing the plan visit to her office by the senior management of RSLAF, in appreciation of the exceptional and laudable ventures she has been implementing, which continues to benefit thousands of women and girls in the country.
The CDS went on to state that the launch of the micro-grant for female officers symbolizes a great chapter in the history of the empowerment of women in the RSLAF, adding that the leadership greatly acknowledge the role of women in uniform.
“The plight of our women in uniform confronts us all” he stated.
The CDS narrated the achievements the force has had this year, mentioning that in a bid to improve and empower the status of women in the force, their leadership approved a total of 55% study leave award to female officers who wish to further their studies in different academic discipline, which is something that has never happened in that magnitude in the history of the RSLAF.
He summarized by stating that the micro-grant will greatly accelerate the effort already embarked on by the government and RSLAF in empowering female officers.
The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Madam Fatima Maada explaining the content of the micro-grant, gave a throw back of her promising an 50 percent add to whatever monies the female officers will contribute as groups.
She printed a shocking surprise on the faces of the Female officers, when she announced that the original arrangement she had with the female officers, which was, that she will add 25 million Leones which is 50 percent of what the 25 million they came up with as groups, but instead, she took with her 150 million to add to their 25 million, which is aimed at boosting them for self empowerment through her micro-grant Initiative for women throughout the country.
Madam Fatima affirmed her humbleness to be in the presence of the leadership of the RSLAF, as women cannot do all things by themselves but need the help of men to partner with, while adding that for a venture to be successful, it’s only prudent that the men take the women along, so as to bring out the best in them, as the empowerment of women is never about competing with the men, but about collaboration.
First Lady thanked the leadership of the RSLAF for allowing her develop the 34 Military hospital as a safe space for women and girls to access medical attention in the country, as it was her dream to build a hospital facility as First Lady of Sierra Leone, as disclosed that by next year they will have an ultra-modern hospital with a section dedicated only to women, another section dedicated exclusively to men and a section for children and lactating mothers.
The hospital she stated, will include an ultra-modern administrative building and an ultra-modern center of excellence for rape victims\survivors in the country.
Madam First Lady also disclosed that by next year they will be renovating the nursing school for the RSLAF female officers to an ultra-modern nursing school, so as to enable those who are studying nursing to have a proper environment to go through their course.
She added, that the military hospital has to be the best and urged the military staff to make use of the opportunity and produce the best services to the people of Sierra Leone.