(SLENA, 30th September, 2021).Sierra Leone’s First Lady Fatima Bio Presents “Hands Off Our Girls” as the People’s Campaign, Praises Husband on Securing UNGA Agenda Item for Survivors of Sexual Violence

Maryland, United States, Saturday 25 September 2021 – Sierra Leone’s First Lady, Madam Fatima Bio, has presented to Sierra Leoneans in the USA and dubbed the “Hands Off Our Girls” as the People’s Campaign where she praised her husband, His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio, for successfully securing an agenda item at the 76th United Nations General Assembly.

Speaking during a fundraising event organised by “Friends of the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign”, the First Lady said that the programme was a continuation of the conversation of the campaign, which started in Sierra Leone and now on a global stage at the United Nations.

She thanked friends of the campaign and various stakeholders, including Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights (LAWYERS), Rainbow Initiative, a national non-governmental organisation that is passionate about ending sexual gender-based violence in Sierra Leone, the Judiciary and the Sierra Leone Police for having supported the “Hands Off Our Girls Campaign” over the years.

Madam Fatima Bio also highlighted the ongoing 34 Military Project, which was being undertaken with funds raised by the campaign and praised her husband for providing her with the platform to support his human capital development vision through the campaign.

“President Bio, my husband, is the only African leader who has given so much voice to justice for victims of sexual violence and rape,” First Lady said.

In a short statement, President Bio said that if they were to demonstrate seriousness about developing the country, they should carry women with them, adding that his government would need a bigger coalition to protect women against sexual violence and rape.

He stated that it was no longer the First Lady’s campaign, rather it was now Sierra Leone’s campaign and called on every woman to support the campaign.

“When we are changing Sierra Leone, it should be inclusive and women and girls should be part of it,” he concluded.

During the fundraising event, the “Friends of Hands Off Our Girls Campaign” raised US $110,000 dollars, a little over Le1.1 billion.