By Ishmael Dumbuya
Save the Children Sierra Leone and partners on March 8 joined the world in commemorating the International Women’s Day at the Waterloo District Council Hall, WARDC, on the theme; Digital , Equality means having more girls in technology’.
This year’s commemoration theme focuses on the involvement and inclusion of women in the digital advancements in Sierra Leone and by extension the world.
In her keynote address, the Director Family Support Unit (FSu), Madam Fatmata Daboh, emphasised that the roles of women in societies cannot be underestimated, as women form the backbone of society.
She went on to state that the involvement of women in the technological strides is very much significant for the development and advancement of women in the country.
She added that there are a lot of instances in Sierra Leone wherein girls have been taken out from schools all in the name of going into marriages.
“The FSu has encountered a lot of cases of such nature in communities,” she stressed.
Daboh blamed a lot of the early marriages on the parents and poverty and admonished parents not to give in to the fangs of poverty by selling their girls into early marriages, noting that it was as a result of that that the First Lady launched the ‘Hands off our girls campaign’ in order to raise awareness on the horrors of early marriages.
She further stated that a lot of sexual penetration and early child marriage cases have been brought to light by the advancements of technology, as a lot of cases of such nature have been reported digitally.
She also advised men to create platforms for young girls and not to destroy their career beforehand.
Daboh indicated that the advancements and usage of technology lessens the workload on the Sierra Leone Police, as there are piles of cases that have not been dealt with as a result of the slow pace at which technology is generating in the country.
She continued that previously,cases reported in farthest villages were very difficult to be reported, but now with the 116 toll free line, that has salvaged the situation.
She ended on the note that women should be a helping hand to one and other and to stop the pulling down syndrome among themselves.
The Social Services Officer, Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Ahmed Turay mentioned that this year’s theme is very much important to the emerging challenges among women and girls in the country.
He added that with technology properly used, girls can be able to conduct researches regarding their academic endeavours, advising against improper use of the Internet.
He ended on the note that the Gender Ministry will do all it could to promote, protect and propagate the importance of technology among women and girls in the country.
David A Koroma from the Ministry of Basic and Senior School Examination,
said that the world has gradually moved towards technological development and Sierra Leone won’t be an exception to the trend.
He stated that the Minister Dr. Moinina Sengeh is technologically preoccupied when it comes to development in all sphere of governance.
He added that it was as a result of that that President Bio relocated Sengeh from the DSTI, a technological directorate, to the Ministry of Education in order to shed technological light in the educational sector of the country.
“Since then he has been very much vibrant in education and technology,” he said.
The commemoration ended on testimonies from community members wherein they explained the impacts of the Save the Children DigitALL project.
Short dramas from community members were acted as a way of raising awareness on girl child issues particularly with the involvement of technology in their various communities.
The commemoration attracted members of the fourth estate, representatives from WARDC, staff from Save the Children and participants from various communities in the Western Area Rural District.