50/50 Group gets new office in Kono
The leading women’s organization in the country, the 50/50 Group – Sierra Leone last Monday 9th August, 2010 made another mark in the eastern part of the country, Koidu town, Kono District where the organization officially handed over an office space that was supported by a Danish International NGO, Ibis to 50/50 group in Kono. (Photo: Former president of the group, Mrs. Harriet Turay)
In addition, the newly elected President of the group, Haja Saiminatu Kassim and Mrs. Harriet Turay, former President of the same group also handed over the Phase Two TROCAIRE project that would be implemented within 18 months by their regional members and would focus on the empowerment of women in politics.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, the Chairman, Mrs. Mariama Bayor who is also a 50/50 Group proud member expressed delight on the completion of the office and the TROCAIRE project which she said would go a long way in building the capacity of women not only in politics but other related domestic issues such as sexual violence, right for women to own property, gender violence and the active involvement of women in decision-making in their various communities.
She maintained that women should not sit back and leave politics in the hands of men as they too are key partners in nation building.
Mrs. Bayor encouraged women to take the opportunity of the 30% representative of women in all spheres of national development especially those that have to do with democratic decision making.
In his welcome address, Councilor Aiya Yomba Aruna of Ward 64, Gbenseh Chiefdom said he felt proud to see women now taking the forefront by competing with men in socio-political issues affecting their status in society.
He said Kono people believe in their women, which is why they have women in their council who are performing very well when it comes to decision making in the council. He implored Kono women to solidify themselves by helping to build the capacity of the less priviledged ones, especially in politics.
The councilor appealed to the 50/50 Group to concentrate on the girl-child education if only they want to achieve the 30% of women in governance. He re-affirmed his council’s commitment to work with all women’s group in Kono District.
An overview of the activities of the 50/50 Group in Kono was given by Mrs. Sia .E. Tongu, head of the group in the Kono district. She said for some time now the 50/50 has been operating in Kono without an office space but with the inception of the Ibis project they were able to tap support from the organization through the donation of office equipment and office space at Tankoro chiefdom through the writing of letter of introduction to Ibis about their Gender program.
Mrs. Tongu further noted that Ibis was an international NGO that mainly focused on the education of war affected children. She also stated that they had embarked on training of women in the Three Gender Acts that involved teaching women on gender issues, training of female councilors and ward committee members as they have plans to take Kono female councilors to other female councilors across the country, work with paramount chiefs work with members of parliament and also plan to take women to Ghana to exchange ideas with female MP’s and Councilors in that part of the region.
A representative of Ibis, Mrs. Rebecca Y. Kamara, Governance Program Officer, expressed her profound gratitude for working with 50/50 Group. She disclosed that Ibis is an international NGO that started its operation in Kono in 2006, focusing on war affected children.
Mrs. Kamara disclosed that her organization came into contact with 50/50 Group under their new project, Citizens Right to Governance (CRG), noting that the 50/50 Group is the women’s group that is implementing the gender aspect of the program. She maintained that women in Kono should embrace themselves for the development of the town as her organization will continue to work with the 50/50 Group.
Former President of the 50/50 Group, Mrs. Harriet Turay thanked their proud Kono members for their effort in making the organization a success in that part of the country. She disclosed that after ten years of existence, the 50/50 Group Kono branch was the first to have an office space of the organization even before that of the city, all because of their hard work.
The handling over of the TROCAIR phase two project was done by the newly elected President, Haja Saiminatu Kassim.
The TROCAIR are agents working for justice; the title of the project was “Women Participation in Supporting Good Governance in All Levels of Decision Making in Sierra Leone”.
The project lasts for 18 months, starting June, 2010 to March 2012.
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