Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – On the occasion of this year’s International Day of the Girl, the British High Commission and Purposeful, launched a ground breaking program called “MOVE” with the aim of celebrating and empowering girls in Sierra Leone and beyond.
This new initiative signifies the UK’s commitment to supporting girls as changemakers and future leaders, recognizing the importance of protecting and promoting their rights, freedoms, and potential.
The “MOVE” program is set to make a significant impact with a commitment of £650,000 over three years, providing multi-year, flexible grants and capacity-building support. This endeavour is dedicated to strengthening the rights and opportunities of girls and local women in Sierra Leone while collaborating with women’s rights organizations globally.
The official launch of the program brought together a diverse array of participants, including civil society activists, development partners, international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), and government officials. This collaborative effort aims to tackle gender-based violence and address the root causes of rape culture while advancing a vision of a world where Sierra Leonean women and girls can live in safety, dignity, and freedom.
Madam Lisa Cheney, the British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, warmly welcomed guests and emphasized the UK’s enduring commitment to supporting Sierra Leone’s development.
In her opening remarks, Madam Cheney highlighted the program’s innovative approach, stating that it’s not just about funding but about doing things differently and supporting locally-driven solutions.
“Girls are the experts on their own lives,” she said. Underlining the importance of engaging girls in decisions that impact their lives and communities, she pointed out that the “MOVE” program reflects UK’s commitment to shifting power to women and girls.
Madam Chesney stressed the vital role of women-led movements in achieving lasting gender equality and highlighted the importance of this program in shifting resources and decision-making to women and girls.
“Research indicates that feminist and women-led movements are pivotal in driving lasting change for gender equality. Despite their significance, grassroots movements and services have often been underfunded. The “MOVE” program intends to rectify this by allocating resources to empower organizations and girls’ groups, particularly in their efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence,” she said.
Aminata Kamara, Co-Lead for Resourcing Resistance at Purposeful, emphasized the importance of giving girls the tools and resources to take action and find solutions to the issues that affect them. The “MOVE” program aligns with this perspective, signaling a shift towards a locally-led approach and the empowerment of girls and women to drive change in their communities.
Purposeful is a feminist hub for girls activism, rooted in Africa and working all around the world.
This groundbreaking program in Sierra Leone is a proof to the collaborative efforts of the British High Commission, Purposeful, and various partners. It signals a renewed commitment to uplifting girls and women as leaders and changemakers, contributing to a brighter and more equitable future in Sierra Leone and beyond. PSN/18/10/2023