State House, Freetown, Tuesday 22 June 2021 – The Mano River Union Women Peace Network, MARWOPNET, Sierra Leone has updated His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio on their activities and also highlighted some of their challenges for government’s considerations.
The focal person, Rosaline Macarthy said they were happy to be able to meet the President and commend him for some of the positive gains his government had made for women and girls and the most recent efforts in the victory of Leone Stars, now qualified for AfCON games in Cameroon, January next year.
On the issue of violence against women and girls, she praised the setting up of the Sexual Offenses Model Court; the separation of the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs from the Ministry of Social Welfare; the compact eligibility from Millennium Challenge Cooperation; the proactive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic; the cash direct transfers to disabled by the National Commission for Social Action during the lockdowns and the diplomatic ways in which he handled the Yenga border issue with Guinea.
While presenting a status report of MARWOPNET, a nongovernmental organisation with headquarters in Freetown that promotes peace and development in the Mano River region (Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea), Madam Macarthy told the President that the network was celebrating her 21st anniversary, adding that they had made significant strides with their main focus on implementing women’s peace and security agenda in the region.
She noted that as a network they were also working with women in the sub-region, partnering with the police women and other women in the security forces on women’s peace and security issues.
Madam Macarthy further stated that the people of Bomaru in Kailahun District, in the eastern part of the country, had asked for the 23rd March to be declared as a public holiday as a reflection and commitment to peace. She said it was for that reason that they at MAWOPNET would like to establish a peacebuilding and touristic center at Bomaru and its environs.
She said they were challenged with the lack of office space to do their administrative work and kindly request for monthly stipend from the government to help them run and sustain their offices.
In his response, President Bio welcomed the network of women and reaffirmed his commitment to peace in the country and around the world, adding that: “a secure peace and tranquil environment provides an ecosystem for development”.
He said he was aware of the role women played in peacebuilding around the world, especially during the settlement of the civil war in Sierra Leone and commended them for the amazing job they had been doing to ensure peace.
He encouraged them to continue the good work, notwithstanding their challenges. He agreed that the nation needed the support of women and, therefore, urged them to be supportive of the girl child. The President ended by appreciating them for the visit.
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