By: James Kamara-Manneh

In a significant development today, Manuel Müller, the Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Sierra Leone, joined esteemed dignitaries at the Ministry of Finance for the signing of a Financing Agreement on the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. The event, held on the 11th of April, 2024, underscores the EU’s commitment to supporting Sierra Leone’s efforts in combatting violence against women and girls, in close collaboration with the United Nations.

With an allocation exceeding 15 million EUR from the EU, the Spotlight Initiative aims at addressing Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), marking a pivotal step towards providing relief to women in Sierra Leonean society. Ambassador Müller emphasized the pivotal role of data in informing policies and decisions, acknowledging the human stories behind every statistic on violence against women. He stressed that gender equality cannot be achieved without ending violence against women, making it a concern for society at large, not just women.

The initiative, aligned with Sierra Leone’s Medium Term National Development Plan 2019-2023, seeks to achieve a drastic reduction in the number of women experiencing Gender-Based Violence (GBV), contributing significantly to Sustainable Development Goal 5.

The implementation of the initiative will involve a multi-stakeholder approach, with key ministries including Finance, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Social Welfare, Health and Sanitation, Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Justice, and the Sierra Leone Police collaborating closely to deliver comprehensive services to survivors. This collaboration reinforces the government’s multi-sectoral response to SGBV, as exemplified by One-Stop Centers providing integrated support services.

Ambassador Müller expressed confidence in the Parliamentary scrutiny and approval process for the Financing Agreement, anticipating shared commitment to realizing the objectives of the Spotlight Initiative in Sierra Leone.

The event concluded with expressions of gratitude from Ambassador Müller to the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations for their ongoing collaboration in addressing gender-based violence and promoting gender equality in the country.



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