DECEMBER 8, 2014 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS), through IFAD’s Rural Finance and Community Improvement Programme (RFCIP) and the Rehabilitation and Community-based Poverty Reduction (RCPRP), has won the Global IFAD Gender Award, announced in Rome, Italy.
Speaking at a press conference at the ministry’s Youyi building offices last Friday, first Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Marie Jalloh, said the IFAD Gender Award is an international award which was initiated in 2003 to recognize contributions of projects and individuals who use innovative approaches to address gender inequalities and empower women.
Madam Jalloh said the award lays emphasis on the use of innovative household methodologies in gender empowerment, poverty alleviation and the importance of the family in the international year of Family Farming in 2014.
“In the seven years of his rule, President Ernest Bai Koroma has made history in recording the highest gender, youth and children’s empowerment laws than all former elected presidents in Sierra Leone,” she claimed. “The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay, has also provided the leadership at cabinet level to ensure gender and rural development programmes get the requisite attention.”
She added that the Rehabilitation and Community-based Poverty Reduction is one of three MAFFS and IFAD supported programmes which currently helps to stimulate agricultural development programmes in the country. Formulated in 2013, the programme was subsequently approved and became operational in 2006 and is now regarded as a major contributor to Sierra Leone’s rural development, she said.
She continued that the Rural Finance and Community Improvement Programme offers financial security to rural women, changing their life styles for better as women farmers can now access loans from community banks.
Also making a statement on behalf of the Director-General of MAFFS, Prince Kamara, National Coordinator of One Project Implementation International, said the award adds another milestone to Sierra Leone and the ministry as agriculture is on the verge of being transformed into a better sector.
Also, Project Coordinator for IFAD, Mohamed Tejan Kella, said they felt fulfilled to have won the award as it represents triumph not just for the ministry but for Sierra Leone.
He promised they would continue to work hard to ensure the project empowers more women in the country and to scoop more international accolades.