Latest national census of 2015 revealed that 60% of the population live in typical rural areas but yet, many programmes are tailored in such a way that great policies end up to not positively influence the lives of the majority of rural areas and by extension, the majority of the population.
Women in rural areas are particularly being short-changed when policies and laws are rolled out and popularised only in urban communities. Many women in rural areas still don’t know about their legal rights concerning matters like Devolution of Estate, Child Support/Maintenance, Customary Marriage/Divorce, Sexual Violence, Domestic Violence and Gender Equality among other issues.
During the recent Public Budget Hearings, it is a fact that one of the best, if not the best, presentations publicly submitted by a Government Ministry was the one eloquently presented by the MSWGCA and led by no less a person than the Honourable Minister herself. Many civil society activists from all around Sierra Leone, left the public hearing with nothing but high praises for the Honourable Minister Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden.
Hon. Minister Blyden’s primary focus was on Government taking service delivery to the most needy especially in rural communities. Her assertive grasp of the problem issues and an eloquent delivery of what her visionary solutions are; all held the entire Miatta Conference Center spellbound.
It is therefore no surprise that the Finance Minister has today Friday 27th October 2017, read out a 2018 Budget which reflects an unprecedentedly huge increase in the allocation to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs.
Whilst thanking Finance Minister Hon. Momodu Kargbo and his team for the huge increase, the MSWGCA remains hopeful that some of the outstanding budgeted amounts for this 2017 year, will be disbursed shortly.
In this regard and with anticipation of disbursements to Gender Sector, the Ministry under the leadership of Hon. Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, will soon be embarking on a very ambitious programme that will see the creation of a nationwide association of rural women to be known as the rural women’s network.
The Rural Women’s Network will be the frontline agent of change in so far as popularizing the Gender Laws, Child Rights Laws and other laws and policies hovering around social issues.