November 27, 2018
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Francis Ben Kaifala, has encouraged women to report sexual harassment cases to the commission.
Kaifala made the above statement last Friday during a symposium organised by the Media Initiative for Women and Girls Empowerment (MIWGEM) on the theme ‘Amplifying Voices through Media to End Violence Against Women & Girls in the Society’ at Cabenda Hotel, Signal Hill Road, Freetown.
The youthful ACC czar noted that he was aware of how women in universities have had problems with professors and public officers who take advantage of them by using their office.
“I am ready to push the boundaries of interpretations in the Anti-corruption Act. I need you to help me by being willing to come forward, by being willing to spread the message and by being willing to convince other people who are your friends to come forward,’’ he said.
The ACC boss said society should take consciously affirmative actions to protect women and girls, adding that the media could be very strategic as it is a powerful tool that can transform a whole society.
‘’As you know, institutions like the one I lead is an evidence base. We cannot afford to miss it. I want you to understand this. That’s why I want you to come forward and when you’re coming forward come with enough evidences to help me, help the commission and help yourself,” Kaifala said.
Commissioner Kaifala stated that although society was resistant to seeing women as equal partners, there was need to double efforts by making sure the message goes across, using both the stick and carrot approach.
He assured that the commission was willing to work with all partners in championing women’s issues in the country.
Also, Founder of MIWGEM, Adama Sillah, said her organisation was established in 2017 with the aim of providing leadership and empowerment for women and girls through media literacy and advocacy.
“It was established in 2017 to leverage two important factors that, if well used, could significantly change the narrative for the feminine gender and for the country, unlocking the untapped power of women and girls through the media,’’ she said .
Ms. Sillah said MIWGEM works with young women and girls, adding that her organisation was very passionate about what must be the media’s role in ending gender and sexual-based violence against women and girls in Sierra Leone.
“Today, I want us all to take action and make our commitment on what we are all going to do together to help change the narratives to raising our voices through media to ending violence against women and girls in Sierra Leone,’’ she said.
She thanked United Bank for Africa (UBA SL) for supporting her through their ‘Each One Reach One Campaign’ that supports organisations to go into communities and work with children and help them gain necessary skills.
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Solomon Jamiru Esq. praised the initiative, stating that it is an emerging cross-cutting tool that would change the story of women in the country.
Jamiru said the initiative was more than a social construct as it was a drive for human dignity, adding that he stands in solidarity with them.
The Deputy Information Minister said the media and civil society constitute the bedrock of society.