|PANEL 4: The Way Forward|
|H.E. Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma|
|First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone|
Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma is the wife of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, 4th democratically elected President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. She has directed her efforts to work towards reducing infant and maternal mortality in Sierra Leone, supporting the Government’s target to reduce these statistics by 30% of the 2005 figures by 2010. Her main aim for her tenure of office is to ensure that she makes a difference to poor people’s lives by doing the sort of things that will set an imprint on the sands of time. Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma’s vision is to see the Children of Sierra Leone benefiting from a caring and supportive environment, enabling them to fullfil their life’s ambitions in a society free from violence and war. She is also committed to enhancing the welfare of women, working towards a fair and equitable society where women are allowed to achieve high public and private office in accordance with their qualification and desire to serve the nation. She has spent a considerable amount of her time since assuming the position of First Lady to promote her vision and at the same time use her profile to support Government and policy makers in reaching timely decisions that enhances the standard of life for women and Children.
H.E Sheya Naima Koroma, the First Lady of Sierra Leone, addressed the issues of education and women’s empowerment in her country. H.E. Mrs. Koroma highlighted the importance of equal education to young girls and women in establishing gender equality, eliminating gender-based abuse, and empowering women. She stressed the need for education and good health services for women in order for them to make good choices in their lives and, therefore, empower the whole society.
H.E. Mrs. Koroma tackled the issue of traditional norms and its detrimental role in preventing women in Sierra Leone’s societies from achieving their full potential. She mentioned several accomplishments that the Sierra Leone government and its President have had in improving the laws found in the 1991 constitutions that are restricting women from attaining high positions in the private and public sectors by undermining their abilities. With young girls and women being the major victims of sexual abuse and health problems, H.E. Mrs. Koroma talked about her role as the First Lady in making an initiative that calls for the protection and the empowerment of these victims. Lastly, the First Lady of Sierra Leone discussed her plan in developing the education system in the country by improving the curriculum and providing scholarships since education to her “is the key to success.”