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MSWGCA, UN-WOMEN Launch Initiative

MSWGCA, UN-WOMEN Launch Initiative

The Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA), Hon. Baindu Dassama, has graced the launching of the Young Women Entrepreneurship and Resilience Building Initiative which aims at strengthening the Resilience and Self-Reliance of Young Women in Western Area.  (Photo: MSWGCA, Hon. Baindu Dassama, UNDP Representative)

The launching and exhibition ceremony of Young Women Entrepreneurship project was organized by Community Empowerment for Sustainable Development –Sierra Leone (CESD) with support from UN-Women at the Miatta Conference Centre in Brookfields, Freetown recently.

Delivering the keynote address, Hon. Baindu Dassama says she was impressed with the UN Women Country Office in Sierra Leone for facilitating this important initiative for young women and men in entrepreneurship development noting that as the political head of the National Machinery for women in Sierra Leone, she has no iota of hesitation that the empowerment of young people especially women is a serious and rewarding bankable project.

“I am already a strong advocator for the empowerment of young people and I will use every platform available to win over like-minded people in society including my colleague Ministers of government “, Hon. Dassama reiterated.

She admonished beneficiaries to continue adding value to the process and teaches others on what they have learnt on Entrepreneurship to be self-reliant in the future.

Giving background of the project, UN-Women representative, Madam Mary says in Sierra Leone, despite strides in promoting gender equality and Women’s rights, most women still continue to suffer marginalization and discrimination, particularly in the areas of education, livelihoods, political participation and property inheritance/ownership.

She said Young women and girls are further disproportionally affected by numerous challenges facing youth due to gender inequalities that stem from gender-based discriminatory of social behaviors and norms noting that women constitute the poorest group in the population with little access to financial and productive resources.

She continued that, 60% of young people are structurally unemployed and are unable to provide sufficiently for themselves and their families adding the 2013 Demographic and Health Survey shows that lack of employment is specifically high for women in urban areas.

The UN-Women Representative went further that, although situations of crisis increase existing gender inequality and discrimination, women’s important contributions to community recovery and resilience building to withstand hardship and maintaining social cohesion, are often not acknowledge or supported.

She added that, strengthening women’s capacities to recover from – and build their resilience to multiple shocks through livelihood support not only helps women as individuals or as vulnerable group, but it sets in motion interrelated positive dynamics to increased economic opportunities, social recognition, physical protection to but few.

However, other speakers including, UNDP, Minister of Youth Affairs, Minister of Trade & Industry, Save the Children expressed similar sentiments.

By Alhassan Bangura

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