July 10, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
Over one hundred teenage girls from the fourteen districts of Sierra Leone have called on the government to develop a National Girls Empowerment Policy that will protect teenage girls from sexual harassment, early marriage, teenage pregnancy, and rape, among other abuses.
The girls made the call recently at the National Stadium while participating at a National Girls Empowerment Forum organized by Kids Advocacy Network with support from the World Bank and One Family People organization.
Giving an overview of the forum, the Executive Director and founder of Kids Advocacy Network, Edmond Alim B. Fornah, said the National Girls Empowerment Forum (NaGEF) is an educative platform that brings together teenage girls all over the country to be lectured, informed and motivated by exemplary young and adult women, who have excelled in their various careers in life.
He noted that the event was also for participants to identify factors that are responsible for the increase in girl-child abuse cases and make recommendations to government and donor partners to find a level playing field to tackle them.
According to him, his organization and donor partners will also support some fifty teenage girls for four academic years with a scholarship package, which will include full tuition fees, monthly allowance, and quarterly mentorship program, among others.
“The package will benefit Ebola orphans and teenage girls who became pregnant during the Ebola era, as well as other vulnerable teenage girls,” he said.
Also, Senior Social Services Officer in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Daniel Albert Gbow, thanked the organization for organizing the forum, and pledged his ministry’s support towards the sustainable development of teenage girls in the country.
Beatrice Kamara from the National Revenue Authority (NRA) noted their institution’s commitment towards promoting girl-child education in the country, which is why they have been supporting vulnerable children in the country, especially during the Ebola outbreak.
On his part, Abu Conteh, who represented the Chairman, Conference of Principals, expressed his gratitude to Kids Advocacy Network for organizing the forum. He assured of working closely to popularize the Teachers Code of Conduct that will discourage teachers from having love relationship with children and also dating teenage girls for grades.
In his keynote address, Deputy Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Karamoh Kabba, called on the judiciary, parents and school authorities not to compromise the abuse of any girl child.