During a sensitization program on Gender based violence held at the Health Centre in Wilberforce, graced by pregnant women, lactating mothers including nurses and community health officers, Mrs. Hannah G. Gillen of Black Opal organisation explained the p[problems that affects women and girls in the community and ways of addressing them. She explained excerpts from the gender law for the ordinary man to understand and admonished them to be watchful over their kids. Also present at the sensitization meeting was the Member of Parliament for Constituency 128 Hon. Benjamin Turay and some community stakeholders.
Speaking on behalf of Black Opal, Hannah Grace Gillen enlightened the women on the three gender laws, the Child Rights Act and the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act of 2019 and about the benefits of family planning and the registration of births of their kids.
As the event was held in the health Centre, she admonished the women to avoid visiting native doctors, whom she described as always deceiving them and to visit the hospital when they are sick. She gave as an example the disease of epilepsy, and explained that it is not witchcraft as traditional healers tell them; bunt a medical condition that has to do with the brain. She encouraged parents with such kids to embrace them and show them love as it will help them to get on in life.
She explained that the initiative is part of a SIDA-funded project which aims to eliminate all forms of abuse, violence against women and girls through civic education, community engagement and training on gender-sensitive laws/policies. She said the project will strengthen community response and action to addressing the root causes of sexual and gender-based violence in line with Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
In his own contribution, the Community Health Officer (CHO) in charge of the Wilberforce health centre, Osman Kamara, said they provide services to hundreds of pregnant women, suckling mothers and children under five. He raised concerns about the lack of a functional incinerator and the inadequacy of water supply to the facility. He said only one out of the four water tanks donated to the facility is in good order.
Responding to those concerns, Hon. Benjamin Turay pledged to buy water from GUMA for the facility for a period of three months. He thanked the two organizations for reaching out to his constituents and promised to advocate for the government to upgrade the facility.
To climax the meeting, Black Opal distributed bags of rice to the women to cushion the effect of hunger and starvation in their families.
Source: The Times SL Newspaper