Kids Advocacy Network Organizes National Girls Empowerment Forum in Grand Style
Kids Advocacy Network (KAN), a local child advocacy organization in the country, on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th February 2017 organized their second National Girls Empowerment Forum at the Kenema District Youth Center. (Photo: Cross Section of Participants at the Event)
The forum was held on the theme: “Empowering Teenage Girls for Sustainable Development in Sierra Leone.”
While presenting the overview of the program, the Executive Director and Founder of KAN, Edmond Alim B. Fornah, noted that the National Girls Empowerment Forum (NaGEF) was an educative forum aimed at bringing together teenage girls all over the country and provide them the opportunity to be informed and motivated by exemplary young and adult women who have excelled in their various careers in life, especially those from humble backgrounds, despite the various challenges they faced in their journey through life.
Fornah said the idea is to trigger their spirit, increase their thinking capacity and build their confidence for the actualization of their dreams.
The NaGEF participants also discussed reasons/factors responsible for the hindrance of the girl child education and sought to proffer recommendations which are to be presented to the government on how they can be tackled.
The forum also aims at bringing government officials, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, teachers, principals of schools, and private sector players, among others, together to sign their commitment in promoting girl child education in Sierra Leone.
Mr. Fornah said the objective of the forum is to work towards empowering adolescent girls and impact them with self-confidence and to break the chain of violence and abuse against them. He called on participants to make very good use of the opportunity as the forum had been designed to help them greatly towards the actualization of their dreams.
The KAN Executive Director further called on government to pay more attention towards girl child education, noting that because girls have been marginalized for far too long, they were vulnerable and at risk of teenage pregnancy, rape, child marriage, etc. The child rights activist stated that that was why part of the Kenema event involved an awareness raising march pass from Kenema District Clock Tower to the Youth Center, to raise public awareness on the importance of girl child education.
He thanked all partners, especially the Advocacy Movement Network, UNICEF, National Revenue Authority, Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, for supporting the organization of the event.
In his welcome address, the Deputy Mayor of Kenema City thanked the Kids Advocacy Network for organizing the Program in their district. He said the forum was timely given girls in the country needed to be empowered for sustainable development. He also pledged Kenema City Council’s support towards the network and called on other organizations to support the child rights advocacy organisation.
National President of Coalition of Young Intelligent Quotient, Theresa L M’bomaya, who also chaired the official opening ceremony, said that Girls Education should be a paramount agenda in nation planning, noting: “if we empower our girls, they will grow up to be a responsible citizens.” She also called for a National Policy on Girls Rights and urged exemplary women in the country to provide mentorship for girls in every community and school.
The Chairperson for the National Child Rights Coalition, who also doubles as Chief Executive Officer of Advocacy Movement Network (AMNet), Ms. Hawa Samai, commended the Kids Advocacy Network for organizing the all important forum. She called on participants of the forum to implement what they learnt from the forum. She used the forum to urge teenage girls across the Country to focus on their studies, noting that education was the fastest and easiest way to success. Madam Samai pledged AMNet’s support towards Kids Advocacy Network and the development of teenage girls across the country.
Several other personalities, including UNICEF Chief of Field in Kenema District, the National Vice President of the Children’s Forum Network, a representative of the Movement Against Poverty, also commended KAN for organizing the event and pledged their support towards Girls Education.
in his Keynote address, the Resident Minister East, Hon. Karamoh Kabba, called on all stakeholders to support girls education and women’s empowerment in the country, noting that it’s the only way out for sustainable development. Mr Kabba coined a slogan: SHER Girl, meaning: Safety, Health, Education and Rights for Girls.
The minister thanked Kids Advocacy Network for organizing the event in his region, and he pledged government’s support towards girls education. He called on parents and community leaders to look after their teenage girls and also to invest in their future through education.
Several other speakers from various organizations made presentations on topics including Leadership and Self Confidence, Women’s Health and Self Esteem, Self Confidence, and Public Speaking Ethics.
The event was climaxed with a comic female football match and a mentorship forum at the Government Secondary School Kenema.
Edmond Alim B Fornah
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