AAWE launches vocational skills training for commercial sex workers
The Alternative Approaches for Women Empowerment (AAWE) has launch a vocational skills training at the Kenema district council hall Nyandeyama road Kenema for commercial sex workers.
In her opening remarks the chairman of the occasion madam Agnes Sandi said that this is the first time she is hearing about an organization that is trying to remove young girls from the street and putting them into good things. She calls on other organizations to follow the good steps of AAWE.
In her overview statement, the coordinator of AAWE Mrs. Isatu Ansu said that Alternative Approaches for Women Empowerment is a community based organization, established since 2007 in Kenema. Adding that their major intervention is on women’s issues especially commercial sex workers and other vulnerable rural women who have been excluded, marginalized and exploited in the name of custom and tradition.
She said their rural women’s program focuses on how to capacitate vulnerable women and bring them to the forefront in development process irrespective of their status.
Mrs. Isatu Ansu went on to say that their mission statement and vision is to empower vulnerable women and young girls to enhance self reliance and alleviate poverty and to mobilize resources for strategic development approaches relating the empowerment of young girls and women, with special concentration on vulnerable rural women in hard to reach area.
She further said that their strategic objectives are to establish functional literacy program for commercial sex workers and other vulnerable women, providing support for economic empowerment (micro finance) for commercial sex workers and other vulnerable women, conducting training workshops so as to reduce their vulnerability to HIV/AIDs and health related issues, networking and collaborating with other organization in promotion of women’s right and empowerment and integrated agriculture (tree crop rehabilitation, vegetable gardening, IVS development, and animal restocking.
Isatu Ansu said they have conducted a baseline survey/participatory needs assessment, registered commercial sex workers and other vulnerable women and girls, held several meetings and are still ongoing, conducting radio sensitization programs, establishing collaboration/partnership with other agencies/organizations, NMJD conducting dialogue sections with commercial sex workers and other vulnerable women and girls, providing office equipment and materials and agricultural site tools and other materials.
Contributing the representative of the mayor, councilor Abu Bakarr Sesay said that even though the mayor is absent he expresses his support and commitment to the launching and the successful implementation of the vocational training institution as an alternative to commercial sex workers. He said vocational training is to human development and also a vehicle for national growth which is the major aim and objective of all councils in this country, and as a result of this the mayor and his council is expressing their profound commitment and support.
The representative from the Human Right Commission Sierra Leone, Ibrahim Lahai, said that the human right commission was established by an act of parliament to take the lead role in promoting and protecting human rights in Sierra Leone. He said launching the project that aims at transforming the lives of women of a special category through vocational skills training as an alternative approach to their livelihood is a significant progress towards improving not only their lives but also their status quo.
In her statement one of the beneficiaries Massa Kallon said that some of them are homeless that is why they are on the street and that some of are not on the street at their wish but because their way and she call on all humanitarian organization to come to their aid as they are willing to leave the street as commercial sex workers.
By IK Musa, Kenema
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