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Deputy Minister of Planning calls for more public awareness in addressing Women’s Rights Issues

At the launch of the 2021 SoWP Report…

Deputy Minister of Planning calls for more public awareness in addressing Women’s Rights Issues

Atlantic Lumley Hotel, Freetown, Monday 12 July 2021– The Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Jonathan Titus-Williams, has said Government in partnership with its development partners was going to use this year’s State of The World Population (SoWP) Report to continue raising the awareness on gender-based violence, rights of women and early/teenage pregnancy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He made this statement at the launch of the 2021 SoWP Report, with the theme: “My body is my own: claiming the right to autonomy and self-determination”. This year’s celebration focused on popularizing and raising awareness of the SoWP, International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Commitments & DD, the National Population Policy and the 2019 Sierra Leone Demographic and Health Survey.

Dr. Titus-Williams said the President Bio-led government has been working effortlessly with its development partners in addressing the gender challenges, particularly those related to reproductive health and rights, and improving population and planning management.

“As a government, we welcome the partnership of our population and development partners to address population-related issues on gender and to develop national social interventions that will help build our population. On our part, I want to assure you all that His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio was committed to UNFPA and all Donor partners in ensuring that programs that address the improvement of the life of our citizens are achieved”, says Dr. Titus-Williams.

He called on all population and development partners to support and work towards addressing the present challenges facing the reproductive health and rights of our young and women, and to strengthen the national capacity for improving awareness of population issues with sound policies.

Jocelyn Fenard, Officer-in-Charge, UNFPA, in his statement, said the the theme was indeed bold and sensitive, which called for audacious and ambitious commitments. He said bodily autonomy meant having the power and agency to make choices, without fear or having someone else decide for them.

Mr. Fenard noted that the theme was a reality call of a new partnership between the government, the United Nations, development partners, civil society and the private sector to promote the rights of all women and adolescent girls.

In his address, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Babatunde Ahonsi, said this year’s World Population Day was centered on raising awareness of the SoWP Report and also on the ICPD commitments— all of which are critical to providing accurate data on the status of women’s health and rights.

Delivering the keynote address and formal launch of the SoWP, the Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Manty Trawalli, said government was convinced that addressing the issues of Rights and Gender Equality was a transformational leverage towards the SDGs.

She said the continuous public awareness and sensitization on gender equality, equity and women’s empowerment amongst other related issues would further help change public perception, societal norms, attitudes and traditional practices that affect the rights, roles and status of adolescents and women.

Minister Trawallie reminded participants of government’s commitments to the overall goal of ending gender-based violence and harmful practices, ending unmet need for family planning services and ending preventable maternal deaths by 2030.

The launch was conducted with 15 High Level participants including representation from MoPED, UNFPA, UN Country Team, STATS SL, NYS, Ministry of Gender, District Councils, Parliament and DHMT.

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