By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The Anti –Corruption Commission (ACC) Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala, has encouraged women to come forward to report on sexual harassment to the commission.
Francis Ben Kaifala made the above statement yesterday during the Media Initiative for Women and Girls Empowerment (MIWGEM) symposium on the theme ‘’ Amplifying Voices through Media to End Violence Against women & Girls in the Society’’ at Cabenda, Signal Hill in Freetown.
He said that as a commissioner of the ACC, he was aware of how long women in the university have had trouble with professors taking advantage, with public officers also taking advantage of girls by using their office.
‘’I’m ready to push the boundaries of interpretations in the Anti-corruption Act. I need you to help me, by been willing to come forward, by been willing to spread the message , by been willing to convince other people who are your friend to come forward,’’ he said.
The ACC boss further said that the society should make consciously affirmative actions to protect women and girls adding that this where the media is very strategic as it is a powerful tool of advocate of education as it reach is wide.
‘’As you know institutions like the one I led is an evidence base. We cannot afford to miss it. I want you to understand this, that’s why I want you to come forward and when you’re coming forward come with enough evidences to help me ,help the commission ,help you ‘’,Kaifala Said .
Commissioner Kaifala further said even though society is resisting, in seeing women as equal partner, there is need to double the efforts together to make sure that this message goes across and in doing so, he proffered for both the use of the stick and carrot approach.
He however said the commission was willing to work with all partners in championing women’s issues in the country.
Founder of MIWGEM, Adama Sillah, in her statement said, the Media Initiative for Women and Girls Empowerment was established in 2017 working to provide leadership and empowerment for women and girls through media literacy and advocacy.
‘’It was established in 2017 ,to leverage two important factors that , if well used, could significantly change the narrative for the feminine gender and for the country ,unlocking the untapped power of women and girls through the media,’’ she said .
She said MIWGEM works with young women and girls adding that as a media organization they were very passionate about what must be the media’s role in ending gender and sexual base violence against our women and girls in Sierra Leone.
‘’Today I want us all to take action and make our commitment on what we are all going to do together to help change the narratives to raising our voices through media to ending violence against women and girls in Sierra Leone ,’’Miss Sillah added.
She thanked United Bank for Africa (UBA SL) for supporting there venture through their Each One Reach One Campaign that supports organizations to go into communities and work with children helping them gain the necessary skills to enable them gain the necessary skills such as make up artistry ,graphic designs among others.
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Solomon Jamiru Esq on his part praised the initiative stating that the initiative is an emerging cross cutting tool that will change the stories of women in the country.
He said MIWGEM is more than a social construct as it is a drive for human dignity adding that he stands in solidarity with them.
The Deputy information Minister said the media and civil society constitute the bedrock of the society highlighting that President Julius Maada Bio values women.
Lawyer Jamiru said the president was concerned about the issue of women adding that the president recently proclaimed that his government will be taking stringent actions on men who perpetrating violence against women and girls in the country .
The symposium drew media and civil society groups with speakers drawn from Cameroon, Ghana and Sierra Leone’s Gender Adviser making commitment to using media to end SGBV’s in the country.
The MIWGEM symposium was sponsored by UBA SL and Africell Mobile Company in Sierra Leone .