Source: AllAfrica
Next Wednesday September 28, scores of women from all over the country will flock to Freetown to talk to the UN about peace in Sierra Leone. The event takes place at the Taia Hotel Resort, Lumley Beach during the UN Open Day.

They'll be telling the Executive Representative of the Secretary General, Michael von der Schulenberg, about the specific roles women can play in making, keeping and building peace in areas of conflict.

"The Open Day initiative is a fantastic opportunity for us to speak directly to senior figures in the UN," said Dr. Nana Pratt of the National Organisation of Women - Sierra Leone (NOW-SL) and Mano River Union Women Peace Network (MARWOPNET). "Women who are active in their communities and in peacebuilding are rarely heard. We have so much to say and so many experiences to share. It's time for people in power to listen to us and our children."

On the agenda for the meeting with Mr. Schulenberg will be Resolution 1325 of the UN Security Council. Adopted in October 2000, it was the first ever ruling from this important body to address the needs of women. And Sierra Leone is one of only 18 countries around the world to draft a national action plan to put the Security Council's ideas into practice.

The Sierra Leone National Action Plan, or SiLNAP as its known, focuses on five different areas: participation, prevention, prosecution, protection and promotion. It even has its own budget of SLL 88,097,375,059 (USD 25,170,679) for implementation of its activities from 2010 - 2013.

Last year's Open Day attracted more than 500 women who discussed amongst other topics, violence against women and girls' education. This year, participants will be looking at the progress that's been made so far.

"We'll be taking stock of progress and reminding Mr Schulenberg of the promises he made at last year's Open Day. We also want to talk about other emerging issues like how to work together for peaceful elections and dealing with political violence" added Rosaline Macarthy from the Women's Forum.

The event is hosted by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs alongside UN agencies and women's groups. In the chair will be the Honourable Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, Umu Hawa Tejan.


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