Her Excellency Fatima Maada Bio and her delegation from Sierra Leone met with H.E. Emine Erdogan, the First Lady of Turkey. First Lady Ms Bio is the West African  representative of the  Organization of African First Ladies for Development( OAFLAD).

The bilateral meeting took place in New York at the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 25th  – 30th  of September.She said it was a great honour meeting her idol and mentor.

Madame Erdogan is of the firm belief that “Humanitarian assistance is always based on preserving human dignity.”  Turkey is “referred to as the most generous country of the world with our governmental institutions as well as our civil society organizations.” Turkey is “currently the biggest humanitarian donor of the world considering the ratio of its humanitarian aid to gross national product.”

They shared a laugh when First Lady introduced Honourable  Rosemary  Bangura, a Parliamentarian from the opposition party APC in Sierra Leone as part of her delegation, Turkey’s first Lady said this is Democracy at work.

First Lady Madam Erdogan said to further collaborate with Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone should have an Embassy in Turkey . They had discussions about Sierra Leone’s recently amended sexual offences act, triggered by President Bio’s declaration of an Emergency on rape.

The team from Turkey said jail sentence for rape has it’s challenges.In Turkey there were cases where prison sentences led to revenge attacks from perpetrators that were jailed on the victims. Based on their findings, Turkey extended the scope of intervention concerning rape to include anger management programmes, rehabilitation centres for both victims and perpetrators.

They went on to say Education from an early age  is key to reducing Gender based violence. So Turkey has put programmes in place to sensitize the people to have a new mindset. The goal of governance is not to criminalise it’s citizens, but to create a society where every one can live to their full potential.

Traditional beliefs  and tradition affects the peoples attitude towards Gender Based Violence.

They said Turkey has robust programme for the training of religious leaders. And they are hosting African Muslim Summit in Istanbul in November this year.

First Lady Erdogan spoke about her  African Culture House and Handicrafts Market, in Ankara’s historical neighbourhood of Hamamönü. Which  is an expression of our sensitivity about women’s problems without any discrimination of religion, language or race, and an indication of our fraternity.” She said products from Serra Leone should be brought to the market, through the Airline, or through the embassy when created .

The meeting came to a climax with H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey joined the meeting . President Erdogan said he wanted to give First Lady Bio a pleasant surprise. The technical team of both countries will coordinate and work out modalities of this very successful bilateral meeting .

First Lady bio  is in New York for the 74th  United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

25th  – 30th  of September.

While in New York, she will be hosting a High Level event on her #HandsOffOurGirls campaign.

Source: Communications Unit of First Lady Fatima Bio

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