October 6, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Defense for Children International (DCI), Plan International and Youth and Child Advocacy Network (YACAN) have yesterday unveiled a project worth 990,000 euros, aimed at bringing an end to all forms of gender-based violence against girls and young women.
Funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the “Girls Advocacy Alliance” project would run for a period of five years (2016-2021) and would pave the way for appropriate measures to be taken so as to ensure that victims of GBV not only effectively access justice but also access crucial services, including post-primary education, jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Experts from the aforementioned child-rights organisations noted during the launching at Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown that girls and young women continue to be exposed to traditional harmful practices and various forms of sexual violence.
They called on local businesses to increasingly demonstrate a strong commitment to ensuring equal opportunities for young women to be economically empowered and protect themselves against gender-based violence.
According to Executive Director of DCI-SL, Abdul Manaff Kemokai, the project would help advance girls and young women’s rights to protection, justice, empowerment and access to essential services in a country where GBV rates are one of the highest in the world.
“With this project, Sierra Leone will become one of the leading African nations to take effective measures to increase public supports at all levels for girls and young women’s equal access to post-primary education, as well as job and entrepreneurship opportunities,” he said.
Also, Project Manager Benjamin Rogers from Plan International explained that the project would be implemented in the Western Area and Moyamba District, targeting 4,000 girls and young women.
He revealed that the project was also being implemented in ten other countries, including Bangladesh and Uganda.
Plan International Programme Support Manager, Miriam Murray, opined that the core of the project would be advocacy and lobbying, adding that the funding for the project emanated from the successes of the “Girls Power Project” which helped girls to be enrolled in secondary schools.
The project was officially unveiled by Chairman of the parliamentary oversight Committee on Social Services, Hon. Hassan Sesay, who commended the organisations for coming up with such a project to help protect and empower girls and young women.