Sierra Leone

Close the Gap aids our sexual and reproductive rights work in Sierra Leone

Close the Gap is an international social enterprise that aims to bridge the digital divide by offering high-quality, pre-owned computers donated by European companies to organizations like Media Matters for Women with projects in developing and emerging countries.   

In November 2018, Media Matters for Women submitted its first order for 20 refurbished Notebooks complete with licensed software for delivery to Sierra Leone in advance of our upcoming Amplify Change Strengthening grant scheduled to launch in February 2018. We had budgeted for three new computers and associated software, but the very reduced prices offered by Close the Gap (Euros 120 each), including our shouldering of shipping costs, will allow us to furnish all of our key staff of seven professionals with computers. The rest will be used in our training sessions with Focal Points and youth advocates on  sexual health and reproductive rights, the theme of our programming for this grant. Our Board of Directors will also benefit. It is a great way to begin our new, exciting project focused on sexual and reproductive rights!

Gender and democracy

Promoting the rights of women and girls to vote in Sierra Leone national elections

In the lead up to the 2018 presidential elections in Sierra Leone, our female journalists were engaging women from local communities on their right to equal participation and representation in democratic processes.

Our senior journalists produced weekly podcasts for distribution through fifteen community-based listening centres and peer-to-peer phone transfers that encouraged women to exercise their right to vote and be informed.

Women's rights activists raised concern about the lack of female candidates and were disappointed with the fifteen political parties for not supporting more women to run for office.

Doris Webber, who hosts one of our listening centres (WADDO), said: "I am worried about what the governance system would look like in Sierra Leone in the absence of women in the system as it keeps dropping down from 30% in 2007 to less than 7% in 2018 although women form a higher overall percentage of the voting population."

It was also reported that women faced discrimination and intimidation during the electoral process. Rd. Nemata Majesk-Walker, the founder and first president of the 50/50 group, an organisation advocating for equal opportunities and representation of women in Sierra Leone, expressed her concern on the issue of the unwillingness of women to support their fellow women in the election process. 

We will continue to work with our journalists and communities to promote equal participation for women in all governance processes.

Ndeamoh Mansaray, Senior Journalist
Media Matters for Women Sierra Leone