Stories

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On the sidelines of the annual Security Council Open Debate, signatories for the Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action urged increased cooperation from the highest levels of policymaking to the grassroots, to ensure full protection and participation for women and girls in conflict and crisis.
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Investigating child rights violations in armed conflict was the topic discussed by experts at an event at the UN Headquarters in New York on 30 January, organized by UN Women and Justice Rapid Response, and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Canada and Sierra Leone to the United Nations.
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Sella Esther Sowa, 42, grows and sells vegetables to support her four children, her nephews and her parents in Kenema in the Eastern Province, Sierra Leone. When a dispute over land rights erupted within Sowa’s family, she decided to take a stand.
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Globally, at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM). Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of FGM in the world, with nine in every 10 women and girls cut, many as young as five years old. During the Ebola crisis of 2014, a moratorium was placed on FGM as part of the emergency health measures. But now three years on, the practice has returned, even though the ban is still in place. While gender inequality, myths...
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Massah Lewally was one of the first female drivers in the UN system in Sierra Leone. She took up driving so that she could visit the UN projects and learn more. As the crisis continues to unfold in Sierra Leone, with nearly 6,000 people impacted by the mudslides, Lewally is working round the clock and assisting women.
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Following heavy rains on 14 August, mudslides have left more than 400 people dead and an estimated 6,000 affected in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. UN Women is leveraging its partnerships to ensure women’s leadership in humanitarian response in Sierra Leone and to meet the urgent gender-based needs of the affected population.
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Bondu Salia, a single mother with a high school diploma in Business Studies, struggled against all odds to provide a better life for her two children. She is among 400 women who have been trained to set up their own small-scale businesses as part of the UN Women-Coca Cola initiative, “5by20”, which aims to empower 5 million women in Africa by 2020. Salia’s story relates to Sustainable Development Goal 8, which promotes decent work for all and encourages entrepreneurship and growth of small and medium sized enterprises.
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Speech by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the Launch of the Liberia and Sierra Leone Regional WEE/WASH Programme on 17 March 2016 in New York
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In a ceremony on 18 December, UN Women was presented a Presidential Award in Sierra Leone State House in recognition of its contribution to fighting Ebola. During the ceremony 200 individuals and organizations were honored for their work to fight Ebola.
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A year on from the Ebola outbreak, a new campaign with journalists, students and teachers is injecting fresh energy into the drive to kick Ebola out of Sierra Leone.
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Since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was declared an international public health emergency in August, many UN organizations have been working hand-in-hand to help those affected on the ground. UN Women has been facilitating mobilization and information efforts targeting women, who have been disproportionately affected by this disease, coordinating UN efforts to address gender within the response, and supporting the collection of sex-disaggregated data. To help curb the spread of Ebola and mitigate its impacts, UN Women has focused on supporting sensitization and advocacy on Ebola and its gender dimensions primarily in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but with some efforts in Nigeria, where we are making relevant materials available in local languages.
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On the last leg of her three-day visit to Sierra Leone, on 24 March UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka launched the UN Women-supported Mano River Union First Ladies Initiative on Maternal and Reproductive Health Services at the Kenema District Government Hospital. The initiative aims to put essential services back on track and rebrand Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services to restore confidence in their use, eroded in the wake of Ebola Virus Disease.
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On her first official visit to Ghana as the Executive Director of UN Women from 24-26 March, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will meet with President H.E. John Dramani Mahama and the Minister of Gender, Children & Social Protection Ministry, Honourable Nana Oye Lithur, to discuss the strengthening of collaboration around the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
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United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka visits Sierra Leone to meet with President H. E. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Government of Sierra Leone and other stakeholders to discuss the gender dimensions of the Ebola virus.
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As of 21 January, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the cumulative number of Ebola cases in the countries with widespread and intense transmission (i.e. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) stands at 21,689, with 8,626 recorded deaths.
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To ensure that the needs of women and girls are addressed within the UN’s overall response to the devastating Ebola Virus Disease, the United Nations Country Team in Sierra Leone launched an Ebola Gender Mainstreaming Strategy in early October. It includes an Advisory Board whose main task is to advise UNMEER on how to tackle the gender dimensions of Ebola.
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UN Women is deeply saddened by the passing away of our colleague Mr. Edmond Bangura-Sesay on Saturday, 18 October, after testing positive for the Ebola virus. Mr. Bangura-Sesay served with great dedication since 2005​ as the driver for the UN Women Office in Sierra Leone.
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Door-to-door volunteers and traditional chiefs are educating and gathering information in their communities on prevention and the impact of the Ebola virus on women.
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As of 18 September, 5,335 suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola have been reported in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where transmission of the disease is widespread. The combined death toll in these countries has reached 2,622, setting the mortality rate at 49 per cent. As front-line healthcare workers and caretakers in their communities, women face a greater risk of contracting the disease.
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Women are on the front lines of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, with female nurses representing the majority of the medical personnel who have died from the virus.