As the Government of Sierra Leone has declared March 8, 2023, as a Public Holiday to commemorate International Women’s Day, it is essential to celebrate the remarkable achievements of the First Lady, Madam Fatima Maada Bio. Madam Bio is a pan-Africanist who firmly believes in women’s empowerment as a key to sustainable development. Her dedication to empowering women and protecting their rights is evident through her various initiatives, which include the “Hands Off Our Girls” campaign and the National Emergency on Rape and Sexual Violence.
Madam Bio’s passion for women’s empowerment began with a peaceful protest against gender-based violence in December 2018, where First Ladies from different African countries marched together in Freetown. This started her “Hands Off Our Girls” campaign, ultimately leading to the President’s declaration of a National Emergency on Rape and Sexual Violence in Sierra Leone. Madam Bio has taken this campaign internationally, delivering speeches at the Women Deliver Conference, the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, and the High-Level Meeting on the margin of the 74th United Nations General Assembly.
Apart from the “Hands Off Our Girls” campaign, Madam Bio launched the National Food Basket program during the COVID-19 pandemic to supply free food items to every district in the country. She also founded the Free Sanitary Pads for School Going Girls initiative to support the Free Quality Education initiative of the Government. This initiative reduced girls skipping school, and Madam Bio provided solar-powered boreholes to provide water all year round in hard-to-reach communities. Her dedication to educating and protecting our children, especially our girls, was recognized by the United Nations, which honored her as the new champion of the United Nations Education Plus program.
Madam Bio’s philanthropic character is inborn, and she is building a hospital, a Centre of Excellence, and an administrative block at the 34 Military Hospital in Freetown. She believes education is critical to sustainable development and is determined to make the Military Hospital one of the best in Africa regarding delivery. Her down-to-earth communication skills are due to her formal education and her affinity with the grassroots.
Madam Bio’s achievements have not gone unnoticed. She has received several awards, including the Warrior Award at the International Women of Power Luncheon in California, U.S.A., and was honored as one of the most influential people of African descent under 40 in New York, United States. Madam Bio is a role model who leads by example, and her most significant,” strength is her ability to achieve any goal she sets.
In conclusion, Madam Fatima Maada Bio is a Champion of Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development. Her dedication to women’s empowerment and sustainable development is evident through her various initiatives. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us honor and celebrate the remarkable achievements of Madam Fatima Maada Bio, the First Lady of Sierra Leone.