On Saturday, October 17, 2020, Impact Sierra Leone, in collaboration with the “My Body is My Body” (MBIMB) initiative presented a powerful workshop to the staff and students at the Yonibana Secondary School (YSS) in Sierra Leone. The workshop was conducted via Zoom and was held in the school assemble hall for the participants. Chrissy Sykes, was the lead speaker for the program where there were over 350 persons in attendance including teachers, community members and even the local Radio Station. Impact Sierra Leone’s CEO, Dr. Mohamed Bangura, ISL Founder Dr. Adama Kalokoh and Board Members, Alfred Turay and Josh Daniels. were also instrumental in ensuring the success of the workshop. The workshop was designed to bring awareness to sexual abuse/harassment against young children (especially girls) and discuss ways to address this problem to hold offenders accountable. The overall goal was to promote child safety through musical empowerment.
The MBIMB is a program that was developed by Chrissy Sykes who is a writer, musical composer, and Global Goodwill Ambassador (GGA). This program is the core initiative for the GGA organization. Chrissy uses her program to connect with like-minded people who work with vulnerable communities around the world. Many times, people in these communities do not have a voice and/or the support to speak out against abuse, especially child abuse. The MBIMB program uses its platform to mobilize human rights activists, policy makers, educators, and others to work towards eradicating injustices against children (especially young girls) and other marginalized groups around the world.
YSS invited powerful and prominent women to participate in Saturday’s workshop including; Rev. Elizabeth D. Kamara – Chairperson for the YSS Board of Governors, Mrs. Isatu Sankoh, Chairperson for the Community Teachers Association(CTA) and wife of the former principal, Mrs. Aminata J. B Kamara who is also the Vice president of Yonibana Student Association (YOSA) in SL. These ladies all serve prominent roles at the school and are model role models for the young girls. They all gave powerful addresses and truly empowered the young girls. They encouraged the girl students to respect themselves and others and speak out against sexual abuse and harassment.
The workshop was fully supported by the school leadership. Mr. Sembu Idrissa Koroma, the Acting Vice Principal of YSS Senior Secondary School (SSS), gave closing remarks applauding ISL for their efforts and promised to continue promoting the causes of MBIMB throughout the Yoni community. ISL presented a total of six empowerment posters to both principals, Mr Henry Kamara, principal of the SSS and Mr. Coach Alpha, principal of the JSS. These posters will hang in the school walls and carry the vision for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Included among the posters were tips for Covid-19 prevention that will help in reducing the spread of the virus in the school. Essentially, our end goals are to work with school leadership to promote Quality Education for populations served.
The MBIMB workshop was highlighted with many themes of Female Empowerment. The students, who had practiced diligently all week, powerfully sang the theme song for MBIMB and the audience joined along with enjoyment. It was a beautiful sight to see the girls proudly sing “My Body Is My Body” while holding a banner designed just for the event. The musical performance by the girls excited the crowd and will hopefully remain with them for a long time. This is an event we hope will be memorable for all but especially the children- we believe it has given them a Voice to stand against any form of Child Abuse/Mistreatment! We must take this program all over the country!
We know that discussing issues surrounding sex is still taboo in Sierra Leone and other developing nations. Unfortunately, this reality is the root cause of many obstacles and injustices faced by girls and women. Those of us who can change this should. ISL is using its platform to help change this trajectory by engaging in activities like Saturday’s workshop with YSS. This is a first step toward addressing child abuse – especially against young girls in Sierra Leone. ISL plans to continue advocating for them through similar activities, so stay tuned for upcoming events. Please support our mission!
Writen by: Yeabu Conteh