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“I want to follow my mother’s example in helping women across the world…” UK Foreign Secretary, Hon. James Cleverly assures women in Bo city, Sierra Leone

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“I want to follow my mother’s example in helping women across the world…” UK Foreign Secretary, Hon. James Cleverly assures women in Bo city, Sierra Leone


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United Kingdom (UK) Foreign Secretary, Hon. James Cleverly has assured women in Bo city, Sierra Leone that he wants to follow her mother’s example in helping women across the world.

As I visit Sierra Leone, I believe that my mother would be proud of the support the UK Government is providing to our partners on the ground to protect and enhance women’s rights. This includes the newly-established Women’s Integrated Sexual Health programme, which provides a safe means for women to plan their pregnancies and take care of their sexual health.

“It helps women and girls living in extreme poverty as well as those dealing with disabilities. My mother’s story is why I wanted to launch this programme and renew our global commitment to women in Bo. It is where all the good she did begin”. Hon. Cleverly said.

He recalled that in 1940, in the beautiful city of Bo, in Sierra Leone, his mother Evelyn was born. She trained and worked as a school teacher as the colonial world she was brought up in began to unwind and recede.

Hearing of the opportunities for women in the United Kingdom, she took the courageous decision to uproot herself and journey to a new country to seek a fresh start.

Arriving in London in 1966 with her best friend, she was greeted by her gregarious sister who had already migrated over to the UK. The two new arrivals soon hit the town and quickly met a pair of handsome brothers. One was his uncle and the other was his father.

He said: “Qualifying as a midwife in the late 1960s, my mother embarked upon a successful career, bringing thousands of children into this world, easing the strain of mothers in childbirth and instructing aspiring midwives on how best to provide that quite literally life-changing service.

“Like her midwife students, she instilled in me an avid desire to serve our country as best I can. At first, I did that by being a soldier and later as a reservist. More recently, I have been lucky enough to contribute to my country as MP for Braintree and now as Foreign Secretary.

“If it wasn’t for my mother’s guidance, inspiration and lessons of service, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today – providing a helping hand to people overseas, whilst protecting and promoting the United Kingdom’s values and interests across the world.

“I am always deeply moved whenever I think of my mother’s story – especially today, on International Women’s Day. The struggle and success. Her bravery and determination. Her inspiring presence and ability to reassure those around her. My memory of her makes me incredibly proud to know what the UK government is doing today to improve the lives of women like her in Sierra Leone and beyond.

“That’s why I’m delighted to be the first British Foreign Secretary to launch an International Women and Girls Strategy, which sets how we will advance women’s freedom, power and rights across the world”.

The UK Foreign Secretary said women’s rights were hard won and need to be defended at home and abroad – whether in Iran and Afghanistan, or on the battlefields of Ukraine, where sexual violence is being used as weapon in war.

He said equal access to opportunities, resources and services should be the birth right of every woman, adding that advancing gender equality and challenging discrimination is not just the right thing to do – it’s also a policy from which everyone benefits”

“It brings freedom, boosts prosperity and trade, strengthens global security and builds resilience. It is the foundation stone of healthy democracy.” Hon. James Cleverly concluded.

The UK Foreign Secretary, Hon. James Cleverly is scheduled to meet President Dr. Julius Maada Bio and senior statesmen and foreign partners before his departure.

Cleverly was born on 4th September 1969 in Lewisham, London, to James Philip and Evelyn Suna Cleverly. His father is British and worked as a surveyor and his mother worked as a midwife and is from Sierra Leone.

He was privately educated at Riverston School and Colfe’s School, both in Lee, London. Cleverly then trained in the army, but his training was cut short by a leg injury in 1989. He went on to gain a Bachelor of Arts degree in hospitality management studies from Ealing College of Higher Education (now University of West London) in 1991.

After graduating, he worked for the publishing company Verenigde Nederlandse Uitgeverijen; he joined Informa as international sales manager in 2002. Two years later, Cleverly joined Crimson Publishing as an advertising manager. He became online commercial manager for Caspian Publishing in 2006. The following year, he co-founded web publishing company Point and Fire.

Read our next edition for more on Hon. James Cleverly visit in Sierra Leone.

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