7th .African First Ladies Summit PDF Print E-mail
dscf1132The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Her Excellency Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma arrived with a delegation of Eight [8] at the Nnamdi Ezikiwi International Air Port, Abuja-Federal Republic of Nigeria on Monday July 23, 2012 to attend the 7th. Summit of African First Ladies Peace Mission. On Tuesday July 24, the Experts Committee met at the ECOWAS Parliament, beside International Conference Centre, Area 10, Garki of which two [2] representatives were requested from each Country. The Chairman of the Expert Committee was Dr. [Mrs.] Asmau Abdul Kadir, the Special Adviser on Gender issues to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The deliberation was centered on the Review of Conflict Situations in Africa and Recommendations for Appropriate Intervention by the African First Ladies Peace Mission where in a Plan of Action was considered for 2012-2014. The Funding, Structural Organisation and the Proposed Budget of the Secretariat were all discussed. On Wednesday July 25, the Executive Council headed by the Chairperson, Her Excellency [Mrs.] Dame [Dr.] Patience Goodluck Jonathan, First Lady of Nigeria gave the opening remarks. On Thursday July 26, the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru officially welcomes the African First Ladies. In her presentation, the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma titled her document as ‘’The African Woman: A Voice For Peace’’. H.E. Mrs. Sia Koroma expressed her personal thanks and appreciation to H.E. Mrs. Dame Patience Jonathan for organizing such a high level meeting and convey greetings from His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the government and people of Sierra Leone. H.E. Mrs. Sia Koroma raised concern about the current status of women in Africa with special reference to Sierra Leone and their contribution to Peace, Security and Development in the Continent. She also spoke of her active role in improving the lives of women and young girls and hope to creat a platform for African women to perform an integral role both in the prevention, resolution of Conflicts and the sustainability of development and prosperity. She recalled the eleven [11] years Civil War and the formation of a concerned Group of Patriotic known as Women’s Movement for Peace in 1994 of which she was a member. H.E. Mrs. Sia Koroma furthered that, the pioneering role of women in achieving peace in Sierra Leone is well documented in their active participation in BINTUMANI 1 and 2 Conferences that led to Free, Fair and Democratic Elections in 1996 and the Lome Peace Accord. First Lady Mrs. Sia Koroma thanked the Nigerian Armed Forces through ECOMOG and UNAMSIL for their assistance in bringing Peace and stability to Sierra Leone. She added that, the May 2000 Peaceful Rally in Freetown against the Revolutionary United Front [R.U.F.] trying to undermine the peace and reconciliation process left twenty-one [21] innocent people shot dead by the R.U.F. fighters and that the women advocated strongly to bring an end to impunity as a result of the Truth and Reconciliation Process [T.R.C.]. However, First Lady Mrs. Sia Koroma pointed out that, the establishment of the Office of the First Lady was to promote the welfare of women and children, provide facilities for the Sexual and Reproductive Health of women, Gender empowerment and promotion of the girl Child education thereby actualizing the UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820. Meanwhile, the First Lady, Mrs. Sia Koroma said that, her Office has refurbished a dilapidated Hospital in Mattru Jong about 165 Kilometers from Freetown in the Southern District of Bonthe which will respond to the Medical needs of over 300,000 Sierra Leoneans. She concluded that, her Office has established an Educational Project called First Lady’s Attitudinal Change in Schools in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology which they have awarded Scholarships to deserving girls in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Institutions and that the Office is engaged in the printing of Manuals, Text Books and Teacher’s Guide which will be incorporated into the curriculum of Schools for the next academic year. In the area of Gender equality, the government has made significant strides by appointing women in key decision making positions such as The Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, the Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission [N.E.C.], Cabinet Ministers, the First Female Brigadier, Assistant Inspector General of Police and several Women as Heads of Parastatals. The First Lady, Mrs. Sia Koroma and her delegation returns to Freetown after the five days conference.