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Sierra Leone: 'Power to Women' Campaign Targets 10,000 Students

A campaign to promote the participation of women in political governance and propel them into leadership positions has commenced in Kailahun district, targeting over 10,000 students, 12 women councillors and 46 junior secondary schools.

The 'Power to Women' campaign is being spearheaded by Social Enterprise Development (SEND) Foundation, with funds provided by the Hamilton Family based in the United Kingdom, through Christian Aid.

According to the foundation's Country Director, Joseph Ayamga, they received funding from the British Department for International Development (DFID) through Christian Aid some years ago to implement a project that promotes women participation in political governance in the Kailahun district.

He said the successful implementation of the project saw the increase in the number of women councillors in the Kailahun District Council from 11% in 2008 to 41% in 2012, as well as the establishment of the Kailahun Women in Governance Network (KWIGN), which mobilises support for women's empowerment.

"Despite the progress made so far, women continue to experience violence, discrimination and trauma across the country. Out of the 456 district councillors, only 87 (19.1%) are women," he said and added that women's wings of political parties have little influence over leadership and in strategic decision making in their respective parties.

He stated that it was because of the foregoing reason(s) that his foundation, with support from Christian Aid, decided to consolidate and expand on the successes of 2012 by launching Phase II of the project titled: "Power to Women" campaign.

Mr. Ayamga noted that they would use the project to help strengthen KWiGN by improving its organisational management and capacity to advocate for women and girls, and support 12 women councillors to combat gender-based violence in schools.

"A society that is responsive and responsible cares for the private and public welfare of everyone. It ensures that the progress of men does not diminish that of women, and that the progress of one woman does not diminish the progress of another woman," he said.

President of KWiGN, Lucy Gondor, said: "We are bent on changing the minds of the world from the negative perception of women as weak and less productive by advocating for resources, opportunities and social values to be equally available for women. Our girls suffer from all sorts of violence at home and in schools but as a network, we will intensify our engagement and dialogue with school authorities and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to pay attention to violence against girls."

Story by Ibrahim Tarawallie

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SEND-SIERRA LEONE
Buedu Road, Kissi Town, Kailahun,
Post Office Box 54
Kenema, Sierra Leone
+232 78 20 68 53