By Ndeamoh Mansaray, MMW Sierra Leone, Senior Journalist
In the lead up to the 2018 presidential elections in Sierra Leone, our female journalists were engaging women from local communities on their right to equal participation and representation in democratic processes.
Our senior journalists produced weekly podcasts for distribution through fifteen community-based listening centres and peer-to-peer phone transfers that encouraged women to exercise their right to vote and be informed.
Women’s rights activists raised concern about the lack of female candidates and were disappointed with the fifteen political parties for not supporting more women to run for office.
Doris Webber, who hosts one of our listening centres (WADDO), said: “I am worried about what the governance system would look like in Sierra Leone in the absence of women in the system as it keeps dropping down from 30% in 2007 to less than 7% in 2018 although women form a higher overall percentage of the voting population.”
It was also reported that women faced discrimination and intimidation during the electoral process. Rd. Nemata Majesk-Walker, the founder and first president of the 50/50 group, an organisation advocating for equal opportunities and representation of women in Sierra Leone, expressed her concern on the issue of the unwillingness of women to support their fellow women in the election process.
We will continue to work with our journalists and communities to promote equal participation for women in all governance processes.