By KABS KANU :
The statement delivered on the podium of the 60th Session of the Commission of the Status of Women at the UN yesterday by the Acting Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs , Ms. Isata Kabia, crystallized the dramatic strides that have been made by the All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government on youth and gender empowerment and equality in Sierra Leone.
SIERRA LEONEANS JUBILATING WITH DR.SYLVIA BLYDEN , ONE OF THE PROMINENT WOMEN IN THE COUNTRY, WHO WAS BROUGHT BY PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA INTO THE GOVERNANCE AND DECISION-MAKING DYNAMISM OF THE NATION IN THE PRESIDENT’S DRIVE TO PROMOTE GENDER EMPOWERMENT. THERE ARE 11 WOMEN IN ALL IN GOVERNANCE NOW.
The well-delivered and well-applauded statement , first of all, impressively underscored Sierra Leone’s foreign policy objective of engagement and cooperation with both her bilateral and multilateral partners in the strive to create a better world when the minister epitomized this spirit when she told the huge UN gathering that her delegation “wishes to align itself with the statements delivered by Thailand on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and Tanzania on behalf of the African Group.”
Sierra Leone has an indelible record of being an active and useful participant in deliberations and action at the UN.
PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA IS RIDING ON A TREMENDOUS WAVE OF POPULARITY FOR FOLLOWING INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES BY STACKING HIS CABINET WITH PROMISING YOUTHS AND WOMEN
The Group of 77 and the African Group are two important organizations in which Sierra Leone is playing a leading role at the UN. As a matter of fact, Sierra Leone is the Chair of the African Union Committee of 10 African states responsible for canvassing and propagating the African Common Position in the intergovernmental negotiations for UN Security Council Reform .
The statement went on to encapsulate Sierra Leone’s unstinting support in the strides being made by the world towards the attainment of gender equality goals and the empowerment of women.
Sierra Leone, by positive actions in the past and present as will be seen later , is showing that she is in sync with the world in efforts to attain these two above- mentioned lofty goals–Gender equality and empowerment of women.
President Ernest Koroma has just unveiled a relatively new cabinet composed of many women , some of whom have been playing a commendable role in the country, like the Awareness Times Publisher, Dr. Sylvia Blyden, who is the face of the women of the country in the democratic media criticism and analyses of socio-political and economic events in the country by women ( An occupation once the sole preserve of men in Sierra Leone ).
At the CSW, Sierra Leone reaffirmed President Koroma’s support for “the effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and other international agreements that promote women’s empowerment, and compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women”, which the statement believes “are prerequisites for sustainable development.”
This is a manifestation of our country’s ability to work with other nations and multilateral organizations to bring social, economic and political development to the world. Both at the UN and international parlays , Sierra Leone has a strong reputation for being a useful partner-in- world progress .
HON. ISATA KABIA : TOLD THE WORLD THE REALITY IN SIERRA LEONE
The Acting Minister of Social Welfare , Hon. Isata Kabia, in her statement, also helped to propagate THE AGENDA FOR PROSPERITY, President Koroma’s flagship national development blueprint for reducing poverty in Sierra Leone and for trottling Sierra Leone to the apex of socio-economic and political development .
In a very significant segment of the statement , the minister made the world to know that even before this very 60th Session of the CSW, Sierra Leoneans had already created a splendid platform for gender equality and empowerment . She told the UN : “This poverty reduction strategy program (PRSP III (2013 – 2018) comprises 7 pillars which mainstream gender and has a pillar 8 as a stand-alone pillar on “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment”.
In making such an important revelation to this UN Session , the minister has made the whole world know that Sierra Leone has not been left behind in continental efforts to change the dynamism and reality of today , vis-à-vis the involvement of women in the decision-making process of the world. As a matter of fact, Sierra Leone is marching right ahead and setting records not only in Africa but the world.
As God would have it , the CSW Session ‘s opening day program coincided with the announcement in Freetown of the recent cabinet reshuffle in Sierra Leone during which the Government, under the wise leadership of the crusading President Ernest Bai Koroma proved that our nation’s commitment to gender equality and empowerment is not a lip-service, but part of the governance mechanism and reality of the country. PRESIDENT KOROMA reformed a cabinet that catapulted women to 11 ministerial positions ! ! ! Yes, you heard it right . Sierra Leone can now boast of 11 ministers of government, tasked with helping President Koroma and the Ministries, departments and agencies ( MDAs ) move our nation to the citadel of socio-economic and political renaissance. The Government of Sierra Leone is showing the world that the place of the woman is no longer just in the kitchen.
Women are now as equally reckoned as men in the day-to-day governance of the country.
Furthermore, it is not only the women who are being empowered in Sierra Leone by the Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma. YOUTHFULNESS runs throughout the cabinet as the President is also giving youngsters the glorious opportunity to serve their people and engage in decision-making.
Thus, Sierra Leone , once the Athens of West Africa and The Beacon of Light of Africa, is moving forward in making the world a better place for all its people —Young, old, men and women.
The injection of more women and youth into the government has won President Koroma wide-spread national and international acclaim.
In Sierra Leone today, the grateful citizens of the country are delighted that the dictum of governance is no longer “BEHIND EVERY SUCCESSFUL MAN THERE IS A WOMAN”. Rather, it is now, “BESIDE EVERY SUCCESSFUL NATION, THERE IS A WOMAN.”
In part 2 of this article, I will examine other areas of international diplomacy , international cooperation and international change , where Sierra Leone is also helping to blaze the trail.