Sierra Leone: UN Women holds Economic Women Forum

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UN Women in Sierra Leone together with window magazine and other partners have held the first Sierra Leone Women Economic Forum at hotel Cabenda in Freetown.

The motive of the forum was to discuss the economic potential that Sierra Leonean women posses, and the opportunities that are available for economic empowerment of women in the country.

Mary Okumu, UN Women country head explained the importance of the forum and stressed on the importance of gender equality.

Okumu also discussed how essential sustainable development goals are to women in general.

“You need to know about the sustainable development goals, how they are related to you. You are supposed to be the custodians, and the actors in achieving SDG’s,” she said.

Okumu further explained that the economic empowerment of women will respond to many of the SDGs, which included women’s well being, education, sustainable cities, safe cities, poverty reduction, to name but few.

A panel of well-grounded individuals from the business sector, government, private sector and NGOs were introduced to help dissect the topic of economic empowerment for women in Sierra Leone. The panel which comprises of three women and two men gave massive contributions to the forum’s theme which is “Unleashing the Economic Power of Women and Girls.”

Speaking at the event Isata-Abdulai Kamara the Deputy Minister North-West gave an insight about her passion in helping girls during her time as a teacher at the Annie Walsh Memorial School to go to University. In addition, she encouraged women to send their children to school, and also to engage in agriculture for the economic development of themselves and the country. She ended by intimate the forum that she has the biggest greenhouse for growing agricultural products in the country, and that she is presently cultivating 100 acres of rice in the Boli lands North of Sierra Leone.

Speaking to switsalone one of the participants in the forum Ms. Andrea Koroma, General Manager of Little Lamb Enterprises thanked UN women for their support in helping to lift Sierra Leone women out of poverty.

“I am a living witness of women that UN Women has supported to grow. Before getting support from UN Women I struggled to improve my business, that is why I want to express my sincere appreciation to UN Women for their support. They are doing an extremely great job in the country. I applied for a grant and just one morning, I got a call from them to come to their office for an interview and to further discuss my business. I want to encourage women of this country to endeavor to do business. I have my master’s but I put it aside and engaged in doing business, ” Koroma said.

The event ended with participants networking and establishing new business contacts.