The First Lady, Fatima Maada Bio, launched the Hands off our Girls Campaign in Kenema district. The ceremony started with a procession from Capitol in the city centre to the city field along Sumaila Street. The Mayor of Kenema, Thomas Baio, called on all to support the initiative. The Resident Minister east, Andrew Ansu Fatorma said this is very important for the people of Kenema district saying the implementation of the initiative was important. Fatima Bio called on bike riders, teachers, Imams, chiefs, pastors, parents and other stakeholders in society to take complete ownership of the project Hands off our Girls campaign for the betterment of all girls in the country. She noted that lots of children drop out of school due to early marriage and teenage pregnancy and also lack of support from parents, guardians and caregivers. Fatima Bio disclosed that the issue of early marriage and teenage pregnancy cannot be under-estimated as it is one of the leading factors to maternal death, HIV and AIDS and fistula. She cautioned parents, imams and pastors involved in organizing early marriages will face the full penalty of the law. Bio appealed to the 16 paramount chiefs of Kenema District to take ownership of the hands off our girls project, adding they must be custodians. She called on the police not to compromise any cases related to sexual offences, early marriage and teenage pregnancy among others.
By Saffa B. Moriba in Kenema
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