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UNFPA Boosts Sierra Leone Gender Ministry

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UNFPA Boosts Sierra Leone Gender Ministry

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By John BaimbaSesay

Receiving the motorbikes on behalf of the ministry, the Permanent Secretary, Zainab Buya-Kamara said, “the Ministry remains committed to closely work with UNFPA in addressing gender related issues”. The motor bikes, she said, will help in creating greater impact in the establishment of the hubs in a bid to provide access to vital information on sexual and reproductive health services for adolescent girls and young women in the Koinadugu district. “With the challenging terrains in Koinadugu district, the donated motor bikes will help to deliver the results needed in enhancing the full operations of the hubs as well as in facilitating the movement of victims/ survivors to the One-Stop-Centre”, said Zainab Buya-Kamara.

Handing over the motor bikes, Betty Alpha, Gender Specialist at the United Nations Population Fund- [UNFPA] said “UNFPA will continue to support the work of the ministry in Koinadugu which is a hard-to-reach district. We [UNFPA] remain hopeful, that the donated motor will help in delivering the expected results in the Koinadugu district. Young people should be provided with the required information and services needed for their health and wellbeing which will equip them to reach their potentials. We therefore look forward to seeing how these bikes will significantly help adolescent girls to have access to the AYSRHR hubs when once established as well as help the officers in the hubs to effectively coordinate critical activities.”

Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of adolescent pregnancy in the world. According to the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2019, twenty-eight per cent of girls between 15 and 19 years have begun childbearing, driven by a number of factors including lack of information, knowledge and skills, weak institutions and services, poverty and girls’ limited access to assets and widespread sexual violence and exploitation. UNFPA, is supporting the Government of Sierra Leone in promoting integrated Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights issues, including gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

The donated motorbikes are to support coordination of Gender-Based Violence response services of the One-Stop-Centre in the Kabala Government Hospital and the setting up of Sexual Reproductive Health hubs for easy access to sexual and reproductive health information and access to services by adolescent girls and young women in the Koinadugu district.

Betty Alpha added “UNFPA values the partnership with the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs and will continue to work closely with Government of Sierra Leone to deliver on our different mandates as aligned with the country’s development framework.” The agency also supports the Gender-Based Violence One Stop Centres and other health facilities across the country, with support from donors like Irish Aid and the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

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