The First Lady of Sierra Leone, Fatima Maada Bio has disclosed that the African Continent will shortly experience rapid developmental transformation with the involvement of current first ladies from around Africa.
Madam Fatima Maada BIO is the wife of Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio. She spoke at occasions marking the launch of Liberia’s first Lady Clar Marie Weah Flagship program ‘She’s You’ Movement, which is aimed at empowering women and girls, raising awareness against the fight of HIV and promoting gender equality. Pres. George Weah launched the Movement with a call stronger collaboration to end all forms of violence against women and girls.
First Ladies from four African Countries were invited including Niger, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. Ghana and Sierra Leone First Ladies were in attendance as the other two countries were represented by a delegation.
According to Madam Maada BIO, women must be given equal opportunities as men to explore their various potential in order to make a change in their unique community, society and the world.
“It is easy to become a first lady but it is difficult if you do not have the support of your husband, so as you are supporting my sister Clar Weah, I know her voice will be heard louder and that this continent will change because what this continent has now is first ladies that are not willing to be silenced by any man,” the Sierra Leonean First Lady said.
According to her, Africa must be transformed to an extent where rape and violence against women and girl are completed wept out, thereby creating a safe environment for all.
“No civilize man will tell me rape is a culture, Men who rape young women and girls are cowards and those women who shield men of rape are also cowards and you have to stop protecting rapists, enough is enough”.
“The unique thing that Sierra Leone and Liberia has is the fact that we had war and we defeated them, we had ebola and we defeated it and together we will defeat domestic violence and rape on women.”
Madam Maada BIO stated that Africans must believe in the change that is required to shape the continent and in the powers of campaigns of first ladies which are tools for progress. “Until we work together as a team and make the men understand that we are done with them abusing us they will not stop, so let us starting educating our men, continent, speak louder for our girls that are raped daily”.
She pledged her Country’s support to ensuring the She’s You Movement goals are achieved and called on women of Liberia to rally support around First Lady Clar Weah, which she said will enable the voices of women to be heard louder and actions taken towards attaining gender equality.
Also Speaking Ghanian First Lady Madam Rebecca Akufo-Addo indicated that the African Continent is faced with numerous challenges which are amplified for women and children, being the most vulnerable.
Madam Akufo-Addo noted that gender-based violence and other practices are deeply rooted in the African Society which are unacceptable and not beneficiary to the continent’s development.
She mentioned that campaigns and movements that affect the fundamental issues of gender inequalities and influence the decisions, choices of the lives of girls and women can make a difference.
“Madam Weah you will need a group of advocates to amplify your voice throughout the country and you will need every support to succeed like we did in Ghana with the launch of the ‘Free to Shine’ Campaign.”
The Ghanian First Lady lauded Madam Clar Weah for the launch of the She’s You Movement and pledged her fullest support to fight for the rights of women and girls on the African Continent against all forms of violence and abuses. “Yours is a movement of empathy for fellow human beings, a movement of respect for both gender, a movement of equity, a movement of empowering women and girls and with great benefits to Liberia and I am exceptionally happy that men are a part of this movement to end gender discrimination,” Madam Rebecca Akofo-Addo noted.
Representatives of First Ladies from Niger and Ivory Coast pledged their support to ensuring the success of the She’s You Movement in Liberia and Africa.
For her Part, Clar Marie Weah expressed satisfaction for the level of support shown by the women of Liberia and Africa over the launch of the Movement.
Madam Weah disclosed that the movement will spread throughout the fifteen Counties of Liberia in order to get the needed impact and ensure that communities are empowered to fight against rape and other abuses.