By Theophilia Leigh
Black Opal and Dignity Association has continued their sensitization on ending sexual and gender-based violence in vulnerable and deprived communities.
The latest sensitization was done at the Kroo Bay Community Health Centre where a little over 150 pregnant women, lactating mothers, including nurses and community health volunteers benefited from the sensitization.
As usual, the beneficiaries were sensitized on the three gender laws, the Child Rights Act and the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act of 2019 respectively. They also received important tips about family planning, child care, child protection and health tips about hygiene and sanitation.
Hannah Grace Gillen is the lead volunteer for Black Opal. She said they aim to promote an awareness of the gender-sensitive laws among grassroots women who are mostly ignorant of the laws. She stated that the objective is to significantly reduce all forms of abuse and violence against women and girls through civic education, community engagement, dialogue and training on gender-sensitive laws/policies in line with key targets under Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
She reminded all that the initiative is sponsored by SIDA through Men’s Association for Gender Equality.
During the sensitization, a suckling mother lamented that she has been cohabiting with her partner for about 22years without being married. She then sought advice from Black Opal on what to do to legalize her status in the home.
Mrs. Gillen advised her to talk to her partner and convince him to go to the Freetown City Council and license their union under the Customary Marriage and Divorce Act.
In the end, Black Opal distributed rice to the beneficiaries.