By Mohamed Barrie
The Internatiognal Organization for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with returnees and Women’s Group throughout march celebrated the International Women’s Day (IWD) and Women’s History Month.
March 8th is International Women’s Day which is celebrated around the world to champion the advancement of women’s rights and gender equality.
At the Fourth World Conference on women in Beijing, China, a platform for action was adopted in 1995, and that became a road map for the empowerment of women and girls, everywhere. In recognition and celebration of that feat the UN declared March 8 as International Women’s Day.
That platform for Action set in motion the wheels for change, a newly reconstructed and energized vehicle with ‘no reverse gear’ was on the move. In very many countries government are being pushed by advocacy groups, bilateral, multilateral, and other international partners/players to be part of this wind that is driving change.
In Sierra Leone, women issues assumed extra prominence, reverence, and dimension when in 2013, the Government of Sierra Leone officially declared March 8 as a public holiday. Alongside this many legislative acts have been enacted which ushered in a very strong platform for women. March 8 has therefore become a rallying point enabling women not only to look aback but to assess progress made, opportunities and challenges faced. How many glass ceilings have been broken or what in roads made into the political, social, economic, and cultural activities of their respective countries? Though they yet to arrive at their targeted destination but their movement is now on course and irreversible.
The International Women’s Day celebration throughout March saw Migrant as Messengers’(MaM) volunteers in Sierra Leone and women’s groups undertook two activities including a mini football tournament and a School outreach program as part of the MaM’s Sierra Leone team celebration package for IWD this year. These activities were organized with strict adherence to COVID 19 protocols.
The Football gala which was held in Wusum Field in Makeni City featured four female teams in Bombali District. The marches were very competitive, with the exhibition of female talent at it best. A female player for Mena Queens called Matilda was exceptional in her performance and won best player of the tournament by scoring 5 goals. Three in the first encounter and two in the final. She showed promise, her dribbling, shots and speed was equal to none.
Amid the global health crisis caused by the pandemic, Marches were organized to help change the ‘stereotype narrative’ that has continuously pinned women down. The football tournament provided a forum for interaction – which attracted the football Association March officials, representatives from different sectors of life, IOM staff and general public, WAYNPEED Executive Director and Marian Pleasant Kargbo-Activist, Minister of Education for Fourah Bay College- Student Union and returnees and spectators had fun and listened to messages on gender equality as dished out by Migrants as Messenger volunteers and other actors.
By Mohamed Barrie