By Yusufu S. Bangura
Gender Analyst at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Kadiatu Bachalle-Taylor, has noted that the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Act (GEWE) is a key approach to national development.
She made the above assertion on Thursday, 19th October, at the conclusion of three-day engagement with women’s group from six districts, hosted by UN Women at the Atlantic Hotel, Lumley Beach Road in Freetown.
She said from the inception of the project titled ‘Localization and Working-Together for Peace: Repositioning Women-Focused CSOs for Sustainable Peace in Sierra Leone,’it has always been a miracle.
“At UNDP, promoting Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment is a key approach to development and our key aim is to eradicate poverty and if we are to eradicate poverty, then there is a need for us to ensure that we support the Government of Sierra Leone to structure the governance systems and structures to ensure that we have a democratic process that all citizens enjoyed their rights which includes women and girls,” she said.
She said to ensure that they have equal participation and peace in Sierra Leone which requires the efforts of both women and men and forming the coalition, they believe that it has given them the platform to have an opportunity and space where CSOs could deliberate and discuss and see what can be done to promote peace in Sierra Leone.
She continued that people may be wondering why they only chose six districts (Bombali, Karene, Kono, Pujehun, Western Area Rural, and Western Area Urban) and that prior to the elections, they looked at areas that had semblance of conflicts, indicators or drivers that were actually emerging and those were the districts they actually targeted in the project.
“What we were looking at during the three days engagement is just a catalytic effort and we are just supporting, so that there is this platform going forward. We believe it will be your own initiative and you will be the drivers to drive your process and you will drive your vehicle right through. If we want to promote women’s participation and peace within communities, it requires you to have the stamina to discuss norms and to transform norms, and also cultural practices within communities, so I have no doubt in this coalition, that you will do it,” she stated.
She ended by saying that she had no doubt in the coalition because they can achieve great gains and great results as it’s not about self, but it’s about the interest of the people of Sierra Leone, as several women have shown how they’ve been able to actually mitigating conflict across the world including Sierra Leone.
National Director for World Vision, Sagane Thiaw, said “World Vision is a child caucus organization. Our vision for every child is life in all its fullness, our prayer for every heart is for us to make it safe for girls. Therefore, we should work together to stop all form of violence against girls and women.”
He emphasised that World Vision is a Christian international organization working in relief, development and advocacy and that they also work with children, families and communities to help them reach their full potentials by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice.
Thiaw continued that World Vision serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender hence they place women and children at the height of their operations, adding that gender equality and social inclusion are at the centre of their work to promote the sustained, well-being of children in their communities and their families.
“We are committed to working in partnership with the government of Sierra Leone, the UN agencies, CSOs, men and women to promote the woman peace agenda, security agenda, at national and national level, the localization and working together for peace project funded by UNDP and be implemented by UN Women and World Vision is an evidence of our commitment as an organization to help promote peace, security, development, empowerment of women in Sierra Leone,” he stated.