Equality Now ends Media TrainingJuly 7, 2018
….what next for our Girl Child
By Mustapha Sesay
‘Equality Now’ an International Non Governmental Organisation working on Ending Sexual Violence/ Justice for Girls has ended a workshop with the media on ‘what next for our Girl Child’ at the New Brookfields Hotel in Freetown.
Speaking to the media, Naitore Nyamu Human Rights Lawyer Equality Now noted that her organisation is working with the various Civil Society Organisations: Defence for Children International Sierra Leone (DCI-SL), Women Against Violence and Exploitation in Society (WAVES), and Child Welfare Society- Sierra Leone (CWS-SL) to ensure gender equality for fairer society- End harmful practice, End Sex trafficking, End Sexual Violence and achieve legal equality.
It could be recalled that as part of emergency measures to reduce the Ebola infection rates, schools in Sierra Leone were closed between June 2014 and April 2015.
With the reopening of schools in April 2015, a ban on teenage mothers was officially announced as a government policy by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
She furthered that on 17 May 2018, a case was filed by Defence for Children International – Sierra Leone (DCI-SL), Women against Violence and Exploitation in Society (WAVES), Child Welfare Society- Sierra Leone (CWS-SL), Equality Now and The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) at the ECOWAS Court.
Mr Abu Bakra Sheriff Esq Editor of Concord Times, Lawyer, Peace Campaigner and Conflict Transformation Practitioner and Trainer/Facilitator spoke on the ban of pregnant school girls from attending school, the challenges, stigma and discrimination. According to him, pregnant girls should have access to quality education. There is no need to discriminate them as this will have negative impacts on them and the country as a whole.
It was furthered that after the Ebola, over five hundred girls were banned from attempting the public examinations while some of the perpetrators marched freely in their respective towns.
This according to him was unjust and this small fraction of girls must be accorded the rights to education.
He called on the media to travel to the rural areas where the rights of girls are violated on a daily basis and expose these issues for appropriate actions to be taken.
Mustapha Sesay General Editor of Standard Times Press spoke on “what next for our Girl Child.” According to him, journalists must be grounded on the nature of the education system, the challenges the girl child encounters, what should be the role of the media in changing the mindset of the parents, Government officials, the girl child towards a non discriminatory educational system.
The following were noted some of the success stories since the last workshop was held with Equality Now: the media undertook a lot of research work in various parts of the country exposing the discriminatory practices against the girl child in our communities. The media and the civil society organisations deliberated on further strategies to achieve the goal of ensure gender equality for fairer society.