MSWGCA, DADA-SL Engages Susan’s Bay Community
The Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs (MSWGCA) in Collaboration with Democracy and Development Associate –Sierra Leone (DADA-SL) has concluded a one day community engagement forum on sustainable peace and development with the theme: “Never again. Let peace reign”. (Newly appointed minister of SWGCA, Madam Isata Kabia visit Susan’s Bay Community Children/women)
The engagement attracts various community stakeholders, youth groups, School Children, women’s groups, Boat owners, Traders, the Sierra Leone Police, Religious Leaders, Traditional Heads, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Community Base Organizations (CBOs) among others at the Susan’s Bay Community Centre on Friday 4th January 2018.
In her keynote address, MSWGCA, Hon.Isata Kabia expressed gratitude to community members especially Children and women for honoring the call of the ministry within a very short notice adding that the motive of the visit is to paying homage to those who lost their lives during January 6th 1999 invasion in Freetown and in other parts of the country.
She updated that the ministry has organized prayers from both faiths before the commencement of the peace procession on Saturday 6TH January 2018.
She said the ministry has disseminate messages of peace across the country for a peaceful March to reflect and commemorate the January 6th 1999 attack which took the lives of many dignified Sierra Leoneans adding that the ministry will continue to champion the issue of social welfare for affected victims especially school going children who lost their parents or guardians during the war and Ebola outbreak respectively with proper advocate networking.
She mentioned her ministry commitment on eradicating all forms of discrimination against women, girls and persons living with disability throughout the entire country adding that the welfare of the people is of paramount concern that the ministry is targeting with different actions to incorporates more women and girls into governance structures.
Madam Isata encourages children to have passion for education so that they will grow up to be role models in society as her ministry is fully committed in addressing gender base violence and child abuse across the country.
She describe the ministry’s visit as timely because according to her they have involved other communities through the same dialoguing approach to know the views and comments made by various women, youths and person living with disability from one community to another.
The newly appointed minister went further to narrate that her ministry has engaged various median institutions including the prints and electronics together with civil society organizations (CSOs), the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), Religious Leaders, youth associations, women groups, Political Parties Registration Commission(PPRC),Heads of political parties, National Electoral Commission(NEC),Traditional Heads, Community Stakeholders among others in the whole country to educate Sierra Leoneans and non-Sierra Leoneans about the importance’s of maintaining or sustaining peace in a Democratic state.
She appeal to community stakeholders to continue maintaining the peace and tranquility which the country is enjoying at present than before when the rebels where in all corners harassing fellow citizens that resulted to the dead of many.
She however acknowledge the fact that her ministry have several welfare challenges in addressing girls and women issues due to lack of education coupled with funding constrains which she said will be a thing of the past under her administration.
she mention the key role of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focusing on enhancing a peaceful co-existence for Sierra Leoneans especially those that are affected by the eleven years brutal rebel war and pray for such situations not to repeat itself again.
The Susan’s Bay community chief, Pa-Yusif Kamara expressed thanks and appreciation to the minister and her entourage for visiting the community at such a moment. He said the community was affected greatly during the January 6th 1999 Invasion adding that they have manage to forgive and forget past happenings which was course by the rebel war and the Ebola virus.
The traditional head narrated the ugly incident of the war to the minister and her team to justify that the community has also suffer heavy fire disaster in recent times which damage several lives and destroy properties.
He assured the minister that his community will continue to be part and parcel of the ministry’s initiatives for the peace march to educate citizens on the important of maintaining peace and unity ahead of March 7th 2018.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DADA-SL, Foday Sesay applauds the minister for visiting their deprived community for the first time immediately after her appointment as the new minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs.
He said his organization have informed community people about the activities which the ministry intends to implement in the near future to promote sustainable peace and national development adding that the January 6th 1999 attack will never repeat itself again in the country.
In her assurance statement, Head of Family Support Unit at the Eastern Police Station, Madam Christina Jalloh expressed happiness for the minister and team for visiting one of the most deprived communities in Freetown after the war and the Ebola disease, noting the facts that women of this community do face discrimination from their male counterpart due to abject poverty which she said is the main challenge the Susan’s Bay community and its environs are currently suffering from.
Madam Jalloh said, the community is prone to disaster especially during the raining season which is due to the location of the community and reiterated the commitment of the eastern police in protecting women and girls against domestic violence from men.
She appeal to the ministry to continue collaboration with the Family Support Unit branch at various police stations so that the ministry will familiarized with the issues of Teenage pregnancy, early marriage, Sexual violence among others which she said was established in 2002.
By Alhassan Bangura
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