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Equality for women begins with Justice

….’Equality Now’ demands
By Mustapha Sesay
‘Equality Now Africa,’ an International Non Governmental Organization, advocating and raising awareness on the rights, freedom and protection of women and girl child on 5th October,2017 organised a training workshop for media practitioners at the New Brook Fields Hotel, Jomo Kenyatta Road in the west end of Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Addressing Journalists, the Media and Communication Officer, Judy Kosgei revealed that ‘Equality Now Africa’ as an International Non Governmental Organization is focusing on a just world, where women and girls are accorded equal rights to access education, ending of harmful practices, raising awareness on sexual violation, sex trafficking and justice to the girl child.¬
There are a lot of injustices the girl child continues to face that are hindering their advancement in the area of educational. As media practitioners, there is the need to bring out some of these challenges, so that policy makers will find solutions in addressing the plight of these young girls that will later contribute to the development of the nation.

Deliberating on the topic, Mr. Abdulai Sheriff noted that promising girls and women continue to be robbed off their basic rights, while the perpetrators march freely around the streets of Sierra Leone with less measures put in place to deal with them.
With this, Mr. Sheriff admonished media practitioners to bring out the voice of the voiceless in our communities so as to influence the decisions of the authorities. He furthered that many young women who have dropped out of school were able to care for their children and continue schooling. “Today, most of them are occupying responsible positions of trust in the country. With such role models, we need to give our girl child the chance to continue their education and not to be discriminated. This will help to ensure that in fifteen to twenty years from times, most of our girls will have acquired their education and be responsible citizens rather than dropouts in the country,” he said.
Eva Ayiera from ‘Equality Now Africa’ stressed that her organization is working in collaboration with various institutions in Africa and other regions to ensure that equality becomes a reality for women and girls.
Speaking on the concept of challenging stigma and discriminatory policy in upholding girls’ rights to education, she noted that pregnant girls have to be accorded the rights to education, and not hindered by any laws of the land.
As part of their voices to end stigma and discriminatory policy in upholding girls’ rights to education, a representative of the Non-Governmental Organisations and Civil Society organizations in Sierra Leone, Madam Hannah Yambasu, called on the government to review all discriminatory practices against pregnant girls’ right to education and to recognize the importance of equality and quality education for all children.
She noted that for the 2014/2015 academic year alone, over fifteen thousand girls got pregnant when schools were shut down by the government as part of the strategy to contain the spread of the Ebola virus. The banning of pregnant girls from attending the formal education is a clear violation of the child’s rights and is never in the best interest of the child.
Several other speakers made meaningful contributions during the workshop.

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