on Prohibition of Early Child Marriage Bill, 2024
June 11, 2024

First Lady of Sierra Leone, Dr. Fatima Maada Bio, met with the Female Caucus of Parliament to discuss the Prohibition of early Child Marriage Bill, 2024, currently under deliberation. The meeting took place in Committee Room One of the Parliament Building.

Dr. Fatima Maada Bio emphasized the importance of the bill and her commitment to protecting the lives of children in Sierra Leone. She began by congratulating the female Members of Parliament for their representation in a predominantly male society. The First Lady underscored that her position is secondary to the impact she can make in the lives of women and girls across the nation. She stressed the need for unity among women, transcending political and social divides.

The First Lady shared her personal story, reflecting on her own experience as a young girl whose parents had arranged for her to marry someone who is now an imam. This, she revealed, would have drastically altered her life and prevented her from becoming the First Lady. Her narrative highlighted the importance of the bill, which has been seven years in the making, in protecting children and promoting the welfare of women.

Dr. Fatima Maada Bio praised the bipartisan approach of the female MPs, seeing it as a symbol of national unity for women’s causes. She specifically commended Hon. Catherine Tarawally for her unwavering support and acknowledged the contributions of Hon. Zombo, recommended by the Leader of Government Business, for her track record in promoting female issues.

The First Lady made a heartfelt appeal to the female Members of Parliament to support the bill, emphasizing the grim reality faced by many young girls in Sierra Leone. She pointed out that many mortuaries are filled with teenage girls who died in childbirth, often due to a lack of protective laws like the proposed bill.

The President of the Female Caucus, Hon. Wuyatta Songa, noted that the First Lady’s engagement was crucial for the successful passage of the bill. She highlighted Her Excellency’s contributions and how her intervention would empower female Members Of Parliament to advocate effectively during debates.

The Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mattew Sahr Nyuma, stressed the importance of addressing women’s and children’s issues with the seriousness they deserve. He called for a bipartisan approach, emphasizing that the bill benefits all women, regardless of political affiliation.

In his remarks, the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Abdul Kargbo, shared his own observations on the effects of early child marriage in his community. He assured the First Lady of the opposition’s support, recognizing the bill’s significance and non-controversial nature.

The meeting concluded with widespread commendations for Dr. Fatima Maada Bio’s leadership and dedication to championing the Prohibition of Early Child Marriage Bill. The female MPs expressed their commitment to supporting the bill and ensuring its passage into law.

Strategic Communications Division,
Office Of The First Lady,
Republic Of Sierra Leone.