Vice President launches HeForShe campaign


March 1, 2017 By Jariatu S. Bangura

Sierra Leone Vice president yesterday launched the HeForShe solidarity campaign, which is geared towards men and boys supporting gender equality and empowerment of women across the country.

Delivery his keynote address on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma, VP Victor Bockarie Foe, said it was a move for everyone to rededicate effort in the participation of women empowerment, adding that  the president and his government has joined other countries in making sure that Sierra Leone be part of the campaign.

He said the campaign should be treated as such that it should not be considered as individual or political campaign but that of a national one.

“Gender inequality is one of the most persistent human rights violations at variance with the tenets of good governance. Gender inequality is one of the most priorities that my government has committed itself to, in empowering women and girls across the country. It is no longer tenable for the boys to stifle women’s participation to themselves but should be given to the women. Women should be women and we should ensure that poverty, healthcare issue, equality should not stop a committed nation from supporting them,” he said.

VP Foe maintained that: “It is your fight; it’s the fight for your daughters, sisters, nieces, aunts and mothers. While we celebrate the achievements, let us reflect on the challenges and offer to their male compatriots. This is because gender equality is not a women and girls issue; it’s a human rights issue and as s democrat and a HeForShe champion, I will continue with the cause of gender in building the nation, because the campaign is a cause that is grounded in the values of dignity, equity and inclusiveness which clearly resonate with our national and development aspirations.”

In his statement, Chairman of Social Services committee in Parliament, Hon. Hassan Sesay, said the campaign has come a long way in the era of UNICEF, aiming at encouraging men to champion women empowerment, and that it was never expected that such a campaign would reach to a certain point.

He added that since 2015, UNICEF wanted to target 25m young girls that were not bride and young mothers as they could not take care of themselves, let alone their kids.

He said men should ensure that they be at the centre to support the campaign as they should not say that ‘behind every man there is a successful woman but beside a man there is a successful woman.

“It is general that men champion gender issues; they should stop gender violence and rape issues among women and young girls. Women have never rape men but men do. Even though some men encounter violence but still let support the campaign,” he said.

He urged his colleagues  that they should not only make laws that would protect women but laws that would help empower them more in all aspect of life as they are more vulnerable, hence the need to support them.
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Paramount Chief Member of Parliament for Tonkolili district, P.C. Bai Kurr Kanagabro Sanka III, noted that if the campaign should succeed, women and girl’s education should be put first, as without education, they would not be able to conquer their fears.

“Most of women are here today to launch the HeForShe campaign,  because they are educated but the question is that are the educated women ready to rise up and go to the grassroot out there and educate them? We should give them the facility to help foster the campaign,” he said.

He said all should support education for young girls and that: “If the men are really ready to support the women then it high time we put our funds on education. How many schools are there for women or girls in the provinces, we need more schools and tertiary institution for women like the one that is in Mathora.” Embittered