Her Excellency the First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio has given account of her stewardship as First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone for more than four years. Addressing the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) at the 13th National Delegates’ Conference held at the Bintumani Conference Center on Wednesday 8th February, Fatima Maada Bio explained how she led and managed the most aggressive campaigns not only in Sierra Leone but globally which has come to be known as the ‘Hands Off Our Girls’ (HOOG) Campaign.
Upon the launch of the campaign, Bio said she was able to mobilize for the first time in the history of Sierra Leone six (6) African First Ladies to march the streets of Freetown against domestic violence, early marriages, teenage pregnancy, rape and all forms of violence against women and girls.
She revealed that due to the ‘Hands off our Girls’ campaign she was appointed as Champion of Education in addition to Board Member for Diplomacy by the United Nations, and was also appointed by AU as Champion of Sanitation.
She added that during the COVID 19 pandemic, her office, complementing the efforts of the president introduced the National Food Basket where food items were distributed nationwide to everybody irrespective of their political or regional affiliation.
Also, complementing the free quality education, the First Lady explained that her office was able to introduce the free sanitary pads campaign in order to retain girls in school during their menstrual period.
She noted that her office with support from JMB Women was able to purchase Sanitary Pads that were distributed free to all school girls across the country.
“We were lucky this year his Excellency the President and his government bought all the pads, while my office undertook the distribution nationwide,” she said.
She maintained that her office does not go with policies to parliament but that they are good in lobbying parliamentarians to pass laws that are in the interest of women such as the Gender Empowerment Act and many other laws that seek to protect women and girls in the country.
The First Lady used the forum to explain further that her office has constructed about 13 Mosques nationwide, constructed the Sierra Leone Police Wives vocational school, pioneered the enrollment of 300 female soldiers into the RSLAF and the construction of an ultra-modern 34 Military Hospital by the Maada and Fatima Bio Foundation.
The First Lady informed the delegates that she is the first First Lady in the world to address the UN General Assembly on the adoption of a resolution she moved to set aside November 18th every year to be observed as “World Day for Prevention of, and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence”, and secondly to give access to justice for all.
Her Excellency expressed her thanks and appreciation to the President for his continued support towards her programs and for giving her the freedom to undertake national activities.
Credit: Strategic Communications Division,
Office of The First Lady.