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Adding my voice to WIMSAL on International Women’s Day

Adding my voice to WIMSAL on International Women’s Day

Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WIMSAL), a reputable institution of female Journalists coming together to champion the cause of women in a positive light for national development has been speaking ahead of International Women’s Day in different platforms.

This noble institution wanted the growing Sierra Leone population of women and girls to be in better position in society. They have been advocating for capacity building, empowerment both economic, social and political, placing role models like Hon. Chief Justice Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh, Christiana Thorpe, Sylvia Blyden, Bernadette Lahai, Haja Zainab Hawa Bangura, Late Mayoress, Dr. June Holst- Roness and Mrs. Florence Dilsworth among others.

I keenly followed the activities of WIMSAL during their meetings at the Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA), and a keen listener to their programmes on Radio/TV and in communities.

Betty Milton is a member of WIMSAL and has been advocating for women’s recognition to gain high level positions and involve in decision making. The truth that female journalists are only seen in managerial positions in Radio Stations, and as a faded carbon paper in print media houses, also became a concern for Betty and WIMSAL. The question when our female journalist would occupy the seats of Editor in the Print Media houses, as it happened in the past with Madam Daisy Bona, and many more questions, is a concern for WIMSAL in their efforts to capacitate women and girls to become nation builders.

Dilating on the International Women’s Day celebration, my concern while going through my kaleidoscope was  to also encourage WIMSAL to look at the women and girls who have experienced sexual violence and pick up the pieces of their lives and reclaim their dignity with a view to having opportunities for entrepreneurship and livelihood support for themselves and their families. This must be a central priority of any poverty reduction and development strategy going forward. The stance in the fight against the rampant rape in the recent past by WIMSAL’s strong voices helped in the reduction of rape cases in both urban and rural Sierra Leone. This is a fundamental truth nobody can challenge. Bravo WIMSAL!

The sustained and courageous efforts of civil society organizations have been critical to ensure the growing visibility of sexual violence, and I would personally like to implore WIMSAL and other women’s organizations to ensure solidarity and support in breaking the silence on sexual violence. I do believe with a strong sense of hope and optimism that with the partnership of Sierra Leonean born Haja Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict with the cooperation between government and the United Nations, a tangible difference in the lives of vulnerable women, girls, boys and men would be restored.

By Jonathan Abass Kamara

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