International Women’s Day – ‘governments, activists, and the private sector must strive to make the digital world safer, more inclusive, and equitable.’
March 13, 2023
Watch below UNDP Resident Representative, Pa Lamin Beyai #IWD2023 Message:
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Wednesday March 8, joined women activists, politicians, and others in Freetown to mark International Women’s Day 2023.
The celebration was organized by the United Nations Country Team to honor and acknowledge women and girls who have championed the development of transformative technology and digital education. The day was celebrated under the theme: “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”
The Resident Representative of UNDP, Pa Lamin Beyai, spoke on behalf of the United Nations System in Sierra Leone and observed that the day was an opportunity for the UN to join its partners worldwide in celebrating women and their crucial role in achieving gender equality.
He urged action to close the gap in women's access to digital technologies as he reflected on the theme for this year's celebration. "We need to identify and commit to new approaches to technology and innovation tailored to women and girls' needs," he said.
He pointed out that Sierra Leone has come a long way in advancing women's empowerment and gender equity. He mentioned the passage of the GEWE Act and the Government's Free Quality School Education Programme as crucial steps in advancing gender equality in Sierra Leone.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, called for the introduction of innovative solutions to help women and girls unleash their human potential.
He noted the adoption of a ‘’Techquity” (Technology and Equity) approach, will ensure interventions are focused on making women and girls everywhere in the country use technology and innovations to solve their everyday problems.
He encouraged partners to always ask themselves what challenges they are solving and how they solve the problems of women who live in communities where data access is not possible.
He noted digital technology has the potential to change the level of literacy among women for example, but the tools must be usable by women in both rural and urban areas with good internet connectivity.
A Mini Fair to promote female entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone was organized as part of the commemoration of International Women's Day. Dignitaries including Hon. Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, stopped by the UNDP booth to learn more about the organization's assistance for female small and medium-sized businesses.
Participating in the fair were three female entrepreneurs who were getting different forms of support from UNDP-funded interventions to expand their businesses.
Three female entrepreneurs receiving various support from UNDP-funded interventions to grow their businesses participated in the fair. These were
Shea & More Naturals - an engendered local entrepreneur who produces skin and hair care products using locally sourced ingredients.
STEM Garage - promotes access to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to children, especially for girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in Sierra Leone.
– skills training enterprise supporting out-of-school young women.
Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA)
Access to finance through Village Savings and Loans schemes is providing an opportunity for women in coastal communities to improve their livelihoods.
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