Sierra Leone Government: A government’s pride is when her people are growing learning, creating, making them proud and more.
For grassroot development, a government’s pride is when private companies, NGOs, Local leaders, and so on take over developmental initiatives and make it work, there by giving them a go ahead to focus on other parastatals but it’s seems some Sierra Leonean leaders will rather you mind your business.
The aim of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, which is based on gender equality is that Women and girls, everywhere, must have equal rights and opportunity, and be able to live free of violence and discrimination.
And according to United Nations Women Organization, Women’s equality and empowerment is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but also integral to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development. In short, all the SDGs depend on the achievement of Goal 5.
“Gender equality by 2030 requires urgent action to eliminate the many root causes of discrimination that still curtail women’s rights in private and public spheres.”
The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment through:
- Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW)
- International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)
- Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI)
- United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
The Music for Girls Initiative Africa, an NGO in Sierra Leone placed themselves in a privileged position to replicate this world mission in the country but to do this effectively like many organizations, they need support.
Setting out since 2014 till date the organization have successfully impacted the lives of over 3000 Sierra Leonean girls through music, craft making, acting, essay competition, make-up, modeling, public speaking and many more empowerment skills needed in the 21st century.
In April 2020, during the COVID-19 fresh outbreak, founder of the Music for Girls Initiative Africa, Esther Michael, disclosed that Coronavirus Pandemic poses similar challenge to the well-being of girls in Sierra Leone as did the Ebola Outbreak, where Sierra Leone recorded the highest teenage pregnancy rate in history.
And in partnership with Dots and My Expo Campus, the organization, using the “My Expo App” gave 2,000 free passwords to students and teachers in Sierra Leone. The aim was to make O’Level exam in the country easier, while the lockdown was on.
“My Excellence in Passing ‘O’ Level” (EXPO) App, also known as the Student’s Personal Teacher, is a mobile application workable with android phones and tablets that cover topics in all subjects for Arts, Science and Commercial stream for students in SSS1 – SSS3, says Ms. Michael.
“This app is a personal teacher, as every class has a virtual animated teacher that works students through any topic in all subjects, preparing them for their WASSCE. The “My Expo App” is easy to understand, it is clear, with animated images that makes it also enjoyable for students.”
The Founder disclosed that Music for Girls Initiative Africa, has taken the bold step to make meaningful contributions to the educational needs of children in this unprecedented time.
Women do 2.6 times more unpaid care and domestic work than men. While families, societies and economies depend on this work, for women, it leads lower earnings and less time to engage in non-work activities. In addition to equal distribution of economic resources, which is not only a right, but accelerates development in multiple areas, there needs to be a fair balance of responsibility for unpaid care work between men and women.
Sexual and reproductive rights are critical in their own right. Shortfalls in these multiply other forms of discrimination, depriving women of education and decent work, for example. Yet only 52 per cent of women married or in a union freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care.
While more women have entered political positions in recent years, including through the use of special quotas, they still hold a mere 23.7 per cent of parliamentary seats, far short of parity. The situation is not much better in the private sector, where women globally occupy less than a third of senior and middle management positions.
So why are the leaders of Sierra Leone Government doing “Masquerade Dance” with Girls Future. Why are they freezing the account of an active and progressive organization like this? What’s with the whole delay? I there another agender to this non-progressive blockage for the growth and development of the girl child in the country. Or is the government boldly telling us that the girls are still not important even with all their massive and mind blowing achievements.
Abla Al Hajaia became the youngest City Council member in Jordan in 2016. Now, she uses her position to help Syrian refugees in her community and educate women on their legal rights; Thaibu, one of the girls under the foundation believes she can do more.
The girl child is instrumental in making the nation what it should be and we cannot neglect her. Music for Girls Initiative Africa has always put in place strategic programs and activities that groom and place girls in Sierra Leone on an estimable plinth.
In October 2016, the Music for Girls Initiative Africa partnered with Plan International to hold a musical concert and a beauty pageant to commemorate the International day of the Girl Child. This was geared towards steering up the potentials in girls. Hundreds of girls benefited.
They had a workshop in December 2016 tagged, ‘A Day Out with Estar Mykel’ with focus was on health with particular interest in menstrual hygiene.
The International Women Day came in March (2017), They hosted a television program addressing the issue of women taking a lead in nation building.
On the 16th of June, 2017 to commemorate the International Day of the African Child, they had an Art Exhibition to showcase Sierra Leonean girls’ creative talents. The girls were taught how to make bags and shoes by professionals. On the set day, they were displayed.
Recently they held a concert at the Moteme community, Regent, Freetown, to console the survivors of the landslide that happened on 14th of August 2017. This concert was staged after Music for Girls Initiative Africa donated relief items worth more than 20 million leones.
They join the world in celebrating “International Women’s Day” in March, “International Day of the African Child” in June, “International Day of the Girl Child” in October, and “I Am A Voice Conference and Concert” in December.
Aside these, the group meet meet every Saturday with about 50 girls, dealing with issues, giving them life skills and sharpening their talents.
THE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF MUSIC FOR GIRLS INITIATIVE AFRICA ARE:
• To empower women through the arts to become entrepreneurs.
• To make possible a self-independent mind for young women through the arts.
• To groom, support and educate young girls through the arts.
• To use music as a medium to empower young girls and women.
• To use music education as a medium to foster mental development for young girls and women.
• To create opportunities for young talented women in Sierra Leone.
• To use the arts to create a career path way for talented girls.
• To build an arena and musical environment for the development of the artistic skills of young girls.
• To create a platform for young girls with like minds to interact and share ideas through the arts.
• To bring about inter cultural exchange and national development through the performing and creative art.
• To join in bringing a lasting solution to the problems affecting the girl child.
In January 2020. hundreds of girls were drawn from various schools in the country showcase their talents.
The Freetown Secondary School for Girls (FSSG) emerged first position followed by the Saint Joseph‘s Convent Secondary School.
The third position went to Rising Academy Network and other prizes of excellence were given to other pupils to commend their outstanding works.
In a similar development, Music for Girls Initiative Africa also conducted an Essay Writing competition for all girls below age 25years.
Girls from all around Freetown wrote on the topic: “The work force cannot get full capacity without women”.
Winners of the 6th to 4th positions went home with school bags and school supplies, whiles the 3rd position was given a brand new Techno F1 phone, the 2nd position a tablet and the winner went home with a brand new Acer Laptop.
The event was held to stir up the amazing potentials in girls, empowering, equipping and supporting them for their glorious future.
These are the heroic events organized by the Music for Girls Initiative Africa to develop girls in Sierra Leone. These are the projects the the Government of Sierra Leone “crossing legs” against.
Few prominent women who have supported and experienced with the Music for Girls Africa are: Nicky Spencer-Coker (Esq), Dr. Joseryl Beckley, Founder of Rosenka School of Performing Arts; Dr. Kitty Fadludeen, Co-Founder Ballanta Academy of Music; Her Worship, Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr Obe.
Music for Girls Initiative Africa as at the time of this report is in a crossfire. An organization that only support and equip girls is being maliciously prosecuted for something they know nothing about.
The Anti-corruption Commission that was set up to investigate and indict corrupt government officials has chosen to move their gaze to innocent Girl Child Activist organisation using her as a pun in their political game.
Again we ask the government. What is really happening? Why this masquerade dance? Can this stop already?