Women's

Forum Sierra Leone

              Women's Forum
                  Sierra Leone

Contacts

Current Address:

C/OYWCA,VOCATIONAL INSTITUTE

BISMARCK JOHNSON STREET

 

BROOKFIELDS FREETOWN,

 

SIERRA  LEONE, WEST AFRICA

 

TEL:              +232-78-738-170

                      +232-79-789-417

E-mail: womensforumsierraleone@yahoo.co.uk

 

 

MOTTO:Solidarity For Empowerment,Equality and Development

WOMEN’S FORUM SIERRA LEONE

REPORT

4TH AFRICAN UNION HIGH LEVEL PANEL ON GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT 29TH -30TH JUNE 2017

 

VENUE: AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA

 

THEME: HARNESSING THE DEMOGRAPHIC DIVIDENDS THROUGH INVESTMENT IN YOUTH: EMPOWERING YOUNG WOMEN AND GIRLS

 

BY:

MRS. MAUDE REGINA PEACOCK

PRESIDENT, WOMEN’S FORUM

4TH AFRICAN UNION HIGH LEVEL PANEL ON GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT

VENUE:                      African Union Commission Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

DATE:                        29th - 30th June 2017

THEME:                     Harnessing the Demographic Dividends through Investment in Youth: Empowering Young Women and Girls

ORGANISERS:         The AU Commission’s Women and Gender and Development Directorate (WGDD) in collaboration with the Human Resource Science and Technology (HRST) the Department of Social Affairs (DSA), the office of the Special Envoy on Women Peace and Security in partnership with United Nation Civil Organisation.

PARTICIPANTS:       Ministers of Gender, Gender Focal Points, Gender Experts, Gender Focal Points Leaders of Women’s Umbrella Organisations valued advocates of the 55 AU States.

DELEGATES FROM SIERRA LEONE: Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs and Mrs. Maude Peacock, President Women’s Forum Sierra Leone.

OVERALL OBJECTIVE:

To define concrete actions to improve women and girls to scale up AUC implemented policy priorities and decisions in the four pillars of the AU Demographic Dividends Agenda that will translate into more tangible investments in young women and girls to harness the Demographic Dividends in Africa.

INTRODUCTION:

The Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Consultation was declared opened by the Gender Minister of Ethiopia, who made it quite clear that the potential for the transformation of Africa lies in the hands of Women and Girls of Africa.

The Director of the WGDD in her welcome and opening statement asked the following question “Why do we choose to go to the moon’.

  • Reiterating that going to the moon involves handwork, new knowledge, skills and collective efforts involving gigantic challenges. Overcoming such challenges for GEWE is a must as there are geniuses among us. This consultation should change the lives of the most vulnerable.

The Demographic Dividend can be defined as the benefit that can arise when a country has a fairly large proportion of working age population. It is an attempt to effectively implement the African Union Assembly’s framework of January 2016. Investment today in the youth, who represent African’s greatest asset will determine the development and socio-economic transformation of the Africa we want.

The theme should be examined as envisioned in Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 the Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Demographic Dividend Road Map was examined through erudite presentation by specialists panelists consultants on the specified pillar followed by discussions from the audience on the following up and actions to be taken.

The four key pillars are

1. Employment and Entrepreneurship

 

2. Education and Digital Skills Development

 

3. Health and Well being

 

4. Rights Governance and Youth Empowerment

PILLAR ONE: EMPLOYMENT AND ENTERPRENEURSHIP

A policy specialist presented a paper on this main point:-

Youth constitute 60% of the African unemployed.

Young women face challenges lack of information

 Lack of ICT skills

Markets localized

Lack business networks e.g. transportation.

 

KEY ACTIONS

Considering agriculture employs 60% of the labour force in Africa and accounts for 25% of the continents GDP, agriculture to be prioritized to help absorb most of the unemployed youth.

Improve access to credit facilities.

  • Engage private sector partners to expand internships apprenticeships and on the job training for women and youth.

 

  • Policies on Corporate Social Responsibilities to be developed with the aim of supporting youth entrepreneurship.

 

  • Engage Africa philanthropists CEO’s private sector to develop and support transformative youth development.

 

  • Huge investment in ICT skills relating to agriculture and business.

 

  • Create youth development funds.

 

  • Mentoring to share professional skills.

 

PILLAR TWO: EDUCATION AND DIGITAL SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

This pillar is critical to the continents efforts towards Harnessing the Demographic Dividend. One of the most important areas for strategic investments.

Challenges these include:

  • Access quality, relevance, options for technical and vocational education training, need for emphasis on science and technology. Mismatch between what students learn and the demands for national development etc. etc.

 

KEY ACTIONS

Review of curriculum of Educational Institution to increase quality and relevance.

Expand Vocational Training Institution for skills acquisition for young people.

  • Improve inclusive access to education at all levels.

 

  • Adopt a life-course approach to learning involving a wide range of subjects.

 

  • Age appropriate culturally sensitive comprehensive education about sexual and reproductive health.

 

  • Establish and strengthen regional educational institutions.

 

PILLAR THREE: HEALTH AND WELL- BEING

Africa the youngest continent with one fifth of its population constitutes young people.

Challenges:

  • FGM and Early Marriage hinder the positive development of the young.

 

  • Human trafficking.

 

  • Disability issues.

 

  • Lack of nutritious food etc.

 

KEY ACTIONS POINTS

  • Implementation of national policies and instruments: - MAPUTO.

 

  • Support regional continental and global initiatives.

 

  • Work towards an Africa where:-

 

  • Every pregnancy is wanted

 

  • Every delivery safe

 

  • Every one counted

 

  • Establish programmes incorporating women with disability, deaf and dumb.

 

  • Private sector investment.

 

  • Instill Corporate Social Responsibility.

 

  • Scale up the promotion and implementation of policies, community engagement strategies.

 

  • Scale up age-appropriate and culturally sensitive comphrensive education on sexual and reproductive health.

 

  • Establishment of Forensic Laboratories in all AU States for Justice and healing for victims of rape. Provision of psychosocial care for both victims and perpetrators.

 

PILLAR 4: RIGHTS GOVERNANCE AND YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

This pillar linked to all the pillars. Harnessing the demographic dividend on the continent requires investments in ensuring participatory representative and inclusive political processes as well as responsive state institutions.

KEY ACTIONS

  • Appoint on AU Special Envoy on youth to lead advocacy measures.

 

  • Ensure the various decisions of the AU Assembly of Heads of States on Youth Leadership and participating on decision making process.

 

  • Establish of Youth Commissions.

 

  • Institute Youth Leadership and Empowerment training aimed at deepening Pan Africa Ideals.

 

  • Review, revise, amend or abolish all laws, regulations, policies, practices and customs that have a discriminating impact on youth.

 

Before the Key action points were adopted, our dynamic Minister made it quite clear that the stance aid strategic for FGM in Sierra Leone is “Protect the Girls and Respect the Women”, that we believe will gradually lead to an end of FGM in Sierra Leone.

 

CONCLUSION

The Special Envoy of the AU Commission on Peace and Security related to GEWE said “I will die fighting for GEWE”.

The Director of the Women Gender Development Directorate, Mrs. Mahawal Wheeler Kaba, (WGDD) indicated that Africa has lot of innovative ideas, energy, capacity and resources to Harness the Demographic Dividend. “It is not the solutions we lack but the actions”. She ended by saying that “we have what we believe to make Africa great”.

The Chairperson of the Au Commission H.E Mr. Faki Maissa Mahamat, reiterated that Agenda 2063 gives place to women and youth and that emancipating the women is a necessity not a priviledge, because to enter paradise “you must respect your mother – without women one cannot do anything in life”.

This demonstrated his determination as AU Commission Chairman to Champion GEWE te go.

 

AGENDA 63

Agenda 2063 is rooted IN Pan Africanism and Africa Renaissance, provides a robust framework for addressing past injustices and the realization of the 21st Century as African Century.

 

VISION

“An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and resources representing a dynamic force in the international arena”.

 

ROAD MAP/FRAMEWORK FOR THE AFRICA WE WANT

  1. A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.

 

  1. An integrated continent politically united and based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance.

 

  1. An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.

 

  1. A peaceful and secure Africa.

 

  1. An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethnics.

 

  1. An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of Africa people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children.

 

  1. Africa as a strong, united and influential global player and partner.

 

Previous Address:

                   National Secretariat

                   7 Percival Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone

                   West Africa.

 

Phone:+232-78-738-170 / +232-76-604-989

E-mail: womensforumsierraleone@yahoo.co.uk