By: Mohamed Sahr

In their relentless effort to expand tourism and women’s capacity building, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs through funds from the World Bank trained one hundred women across the country on entrepreneurship-related skills on Thursday 16th March 2023 at the Creative Hub Africa Hall in Freetown.

The Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt said being one of the formidable figures behind the success of women’s participation on a common ground to that of the male counterpart, she made tremendous strives to brand Sierra Leone to the international public and that, the country has been recognized as one of the best tourist destinations sites in Africa. She added that tourism is a private sector place where every private entity and business are catered for as well gathered to dialogue on business ideals.

“As a government, we have to make sure that Sierra Leoneans on the tourism sector are not foreign people,” she advice.

The Minister further emphasized that loads of improvement of facilities are going on across the country especially in the provinces for Sierra Leonean to feel the grit; adding that these facilities are designed by her team to elevate the sector to an admirable face value. Minister Pratt stated that Sierra Leone is diversely open to the world for her tourist enrichment.

Madam Pratt encouraged the women to firmly stand for what they believe in and put into practice the things they learnt during the four days training exercise on women’s Entrepreneurship, Empowerment and Capacity Building Skills in Tourism and Hospitality Sector.

She affirmed that she would endeavor to keep the tourism game alive as long as women are equally considered vibrant players in decision-making and empowerment. She revealed that after the training she has a lot of implementing ideas that would attract donor partners. Madam Pratt said she would like to see business ideals that are fit for innovation and support entrepreneurial aspects.

“I have a social contract between you and me, so I want you all to push hard and formulate more result-oriented businesses from what you have learnt,” Tourism Minister said.

She hoped for hosting another event where business ideals are creatively pitched by another set of women who would run into their exciting initiatives and business plans. Madam Pratt said His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has got so much passion for women’s empowerment and gender equality; noting that women should not be micro-credit-based people but engage in entrepreneurship-driven aspects.

The Director of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Mohamed Jalloh said the establishment of the Gender-Based Hub in the ministry came as an idea from the Minister of Tourism as a way of empowering women through capacity-building skills. He mentioned that women should own and control their businesses as well as be at the center of business dialogues. Director Jalloh furthered that for a nation to succeed women need to be competitively focused whether in business or the corporate world.

“The reason why this training is unique is that we hired a well-trained and professional Sierra Leonean entrepreneur to give you all the things in need,” he said.

Isatu Harrison, who doubles as the Facilitator and Chief Executive Officer of IZELIA said the one hundred women who took part in the Tourism Empowerment and Capacity Building Training made an exceptional performance during their four days sessions; adding that many of these women came from the provincial areas for them to add value to their existing skills in entrepreneurship. She stated that there were two groups of fifty women each, and they were taught about empowerment, product development, risk management, business development, human resources, hospitality management financial reporting and customer services among others.

She hoped that the skills they have got would serve as a motivating factor and they would replicate them in their various businesses to have rapid growth. Harrison said the training came at the time they needed it most. ‘’We need to be deliberate, especially in growing women’s businesses,’’ she affirmed.

Khadijatu Mansaray, beneficiary and staff of the View Sky Lounge felt honored to be part of the four days of training where she learnt about the manner of treating customers. She stated that having trained in the aspect of entrepreneurship, capacity building and hospitality; she committed to putting to work all that she gained and being her CEO.

Mamie Biankey, a beneficiary from Lileima Catering Service Kenema said the training was important to her as she now knows the way and manner of establishing a business on her own. She thanked the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs for providing such mentorship training.


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