Cooperazione International an independent Non Governmental Organization that has been involved in the fight against social injustice, poverty and to build a future that guarantees everyone adequate living conditions, equal opportunities and respect of their rights has officially launched a project titled “Strengthening and linking women-led efforts to promote women’s property ownership and literacy rights in Sierra Leone”. The launching was done by the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone Sia Koroma in a well attended ceremony held at the British Council in Freetown.
The project is being funded by the European Union and it will be implemented in collaboration with other partners like Oxfam, Forum for Africa Women’s Educationalist and the Sierra Leone Youth Empowerment Organization.
In his welcome address the Country Director of Coopi Marco Serena said women by birth have the same right like men and therefore should be given equal rights and opportunities. He called on the government and other organizations to join Coopi in this fight to raise awareness on the emancipation of women in society.
Presently the country is running on one leg because the economic effort of women is frustrated as they have no better rights to ownership of property despite the tremendous strides women in Sierra Leone are making to boost the economy” the Director stated.
The Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission-Sierra Leone, Edward Sam who served as chairman for the launching applauded Coopi for taking the lead in promoting the issue of women ownership of property and literacy rights. He added that this will help to change the mentality of people since Gender discrimination has been part of the culture of our people. He pledged his Commission’s support to Coopi by ensuring that every woman in the country enjoys full right to live as their male spouse.
Delivering her Keynote address the Director of LAWYERS Mariama Dumbuya said there is need to promote the education of the girl child as it is a Constitutional provision for basic education for every citizen irrespective of gender. She added that at present more right is given to men with regards ownership of property as compared to women. Mariama said there is need for more awareness in rural areas to empower women to fight for their rights to ownership of property.
The LAWYERS Director pledged unflinching support of her organization to provide legal aid to women who think they have been deprived of their rights to ownership of property or even their basic rights.
The launch was witnessed by the Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs Dr. Soccoh Kabia, the chairperson for female Parliamentary Caucus Group, Marie Yansaneh and a host of other women’s and human rights organizations.
By William Freeman