The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) in collaboration with the International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES) IFES has embarked on a consultative and sensitization forum on gender and peace related issues with the theme: help bil salone wit Uman dem’’ at the Holy Trinity Parish Hall along Blama road in Kenema city.
Giving an overview of the Gender and Peace Forum the Programme Manager for IFES Miss Musu Bangura noted that the purpose of the forum is to increase the participation of women in politics and governance adding that the PPRC and IFES had earlier organized District Gender Forum and have now embark on holding regional gender and peace forums in the four regions which include Makeni, Bo, Freetown and Kenema. This meeting she further disclosed will provide an opportunity for women groups and stakeholders to bring out issues relating to women participation in the upcoming local government elections. Speaking on women empowerment she identified a high level of illiteracy among Sierra Leonean women, fear of violence and intimidation, religious beliefs and culture as challenges that oppose female participation in governance.
She however made some recommendations to influence the participation of women in politics such as government and key stakeholders to identify girl child education, campaign to ensure high literacy rate, and increased level of education among girls and women in the next generation. Political parties she urged should increase the number of women in party executives so that women will be fairly represented for symbol allocation and modify some traditions and customs militating against women participation in governance.
The PRO of PPRC Alie Kamara also maintained that the marginalisation of women in governance is a factor responsible for Sierra Leone being placed at the bottom of the Human Development Index and emphasised that if we want to see a brighter Sierra Leone, it is only by incorporation of women in governance issues and called on stakeholders concerned to enhance women participation in governance.