By Sahr Eric George
Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), in collaboration with the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), has initiated a two-day training of trainers workshop. The objective is to empower women leaders in Sierra Leone on the localization of women, peace, and security (WPS) resolutions and the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Act (GEWE).
Mrs. Marcella Samba Sesay, the Executive Director of CGG, highlighted that the workshop aims to empower ten women leaders from across the country. These leaders will subsequently train other women in their respective districts on how to localize the GEWE Act and achieve Women, Peace, and Security resolutions in Sierra Leone. The focus is on enhancing understanding of the national action plan on WPS among women, youth activists, leaders, marginalized groups, and local government authorities.
Sesay emphasized that the workshop seeks to promote systemic coordination and greater cross-sectoral cooperation among local government authorities, civil societies, local leaders, UN entities, and multilateral institutions in the implementation of WPS resolutions and the GEWE Act in the country.
“Opportunities for women’s empowerment do not come on a silver platter; we have to fight to achieve them,” Sesay stated.
She urged women leaders to recognize that gender equality does not mean sameness but rather celebrates the uniqueness in diversity between the sexes. “Equality does not mean sameness; the actualization of the GEWE Act is a necessity in Sierra Leone and is close to my heart,” Sesay pointed out.
Mr. Charles Vandy, the Deputy Chief Director of the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs, representing the Minister, stressed that all gains of the GEWE Act would be wasted without sustainable peace and security. He highlighted the need for effective implementation and emphasized that laws are only as good as their implementation.
Vandy called for the empowerment and inclusion of women who own farms in the Feed Salone project, ensuring they have access to flexible loans. He advocated for massive participation across genders in all walks of life, discouraging assumptions and reminding activists that many have contributed to gender equality and women’s empowerment over the years.
Steve Gaojia, Board Member of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, emphasized that sustainable peace cannot be achieved entirely without women’s empowerment.
Badnitu Turay, the National Coordinator for the Young Women in Democracy Forum, highlighted gender issues that hinder women’s participation, starting from home where cultural and religious beliefs often train girls to be reserved. She shared her personal journey of overcoming such barriers and encouraged women to be more vocal.
Emilia Kamara Jengo from Bombali District emphasized that having the GEWE Act is not enough; more efforts are needed to foster peace and security among women. SEG/25/1/2024