The dynamic First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma on the 20th April 2010, initiated yet another Womenís Project entitled "Strengthening and Linking Women-lead effort to Promote Womenís Property and Literacy Rights in Sierra Leone" at the British Council Auditorium in Freetown. The ceremony with funding from the European Union (EU) was organized by the Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI), in alliance with OXFAM GB, Forum for African Womenís Educationalist (FAWE) , and Sierra Leone Youth Empowerment (SLYEO).
Officially launching the project, the First Lady Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma noted that, the effort to promote womenís property ownership and literacy rights in Sierra Leone is highly commendable and that the idea to involve local NGOs in the process is equally impressive, adding that, there seems to be a general agreement on the fact that in almost all societies, women are not treated as equals of men. She pointed out that legislations are constantly being introduced and passed on ways to better the lives of women, but, it is hardly seen reflecting on them.
Against this backdrop, the First Lady called on all and sundry to view this era as a time to realize that issues of the rights of women must no longer just be in theory but to be translated into action. She revealed that in contemporary economies, women account for 52% of the agricultural workforce. According to the First Lady, Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma, in order to keep the issue of womenís rights prominent in the public domain, the nation needs to be continuously reminded about Article 18 of the African Charter on Human and Peopleís Rights. Reflecting on the importance of women towards economic recovery, The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Madam Sia Nyama Koroma called on all states functionaries to eliminate every form of discrimination against women and to ensure the protection of the rights of women as stipulated in the International Declarations and Conventions, to which Sierra Leone is a signatory.
In his statement the Country Director of COOPI, Mr. Marco Serena stated that the project aims at strengthening the capacity and improving networking between Community-based Groups and National Womenís Networks to raise awareness of womenís property and literacy rights. He advocated for greater participation of women in decision making on property ownership and for a more enabling environment for women to exercise their property and literacy rights, and appealed to all Sierra Leonean to support the course of women and to ensure that womenís issues are treated with all seriousness.
The Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Childrenís Affairs, Dr. Soccoh Kabia in his address commend the organizers of the ceremony urged them to continue promoting gender issues in the country. He described the project as a practical and realistic venture that pays critical attention on communities, womenís groups, farmersí groups and youth groups, adding that all these groups will have to benefit during the implementation phase of the project. On behalf of Government, Dr. Soccoh Kabai assured COOPI and its partners of unreserved support at all times.