By: Mohamed Sahr

Society for Democratic Initiatives with support from Carter Center US conducted a new study on the frequency and rate of success of women’s access to information.

According to the press notice dated  Friday 20th January 2023, Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, the Executive Director of the Society for Democracy Initiatives (SDI) said the proposition demonstrated that women had not been allowed to access information with the same ease or rate of success as compared to men.

He added that access to information serves as a fundamental right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is critical for the practice of many other rights including socioeconomic and political rights.

Mr Abdulai revealed that the Carter Center had developed both quantitative and qualitative research in 2013 which was launched in Liberia; noting that this framework otherwise study would be replicated in Sierra Leone to comprehend women’s access to information.

 “The study will look at whether women can exercise their right to information, the type of information women want, and the core impediments women faced in accessing information’’, Saffa Abdulai affirmed.

He said the final report would make recommendations to the Government, MDAs, civil society groups and service providers to increase awareness of the right to access information, proactively publish information, gender-sensitive policies, and other relevant issues. He hoped for a significant decrease in the barriers to women seeking and getting information and to improve the process for women to access information.

While George Mustapha, Study Coordinator of the Society for Democracy Initiatives said the data collection would run for a single month followed by the survey results which would be analyzed. He assured me that the final report would be released in mid-May 2023.

Coordinator Mustapha disclosed that SDI enumerators had met at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Aberdeen to commence training for data collection, interviewing and gathering research for the study. “The data will be collected from across the country from district headquarter towns. The collection of primary data will be through interviews with community leaders, expert views, observation of places where government ministries and agencies offer service or information to the public and interviews of public servants and customers who enter public offices with the aid of smartphones and digital devices all from Georgia, United States,’’Mr Mustapha said.

Laura Neuman, Director of the Carter Center’s Rule of Law Program and Leader of Inform Women, Transform Lives Campaign said more than 90 countries around the world claim legislation on the right to information but in many of these countries, one-half of the population has been limited in their full enjoyment of the right to information and the benefits that it may provide.

‘’Statistics demonstrate that women do not access information at the same rate as men,’’ Director Neuman said.


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