Sierra Leone's First Lady, Madam Fatima Maada Bio, has rallied for action during the official launch of the public transport reforms and the introduction of 50 new buses as part of the Integrated Urban Mobility Project. This initiative dubbed as "WAKAFINE" is poised to address the prevalent challenges within Sierra Leone's transportation systems by implementing various measures including traffic lights, pedestrian bridges, and the integration of additional buses to improve urban mobility.
In her address, she underscored critical issues, particularly emphasizing women's safety and empowerment within the revitalized public transport system, particularly the pervasive issue of sexual harassment faced by women during their daily commutes and expressed appreciation for the installation of CCTV cameras in the new buses as a pivotal measure to combat such misconducts. These security measures, she remarked, further exemplify a concerted commitment to creating a safe environment for women and individuals with physical challenges utilizing public transportation.
She commented on the affordability in public transportation, highlighting the significance of introducing 50 new buses to lower transportation costs to facilitate women's ability to fulfill essential tasks such as attending schools, markets, and hospitals, thus promoting increased mobility and access to vital services. This initiative aligns with the broader goal of empowering women by enhancing their capacity to navigate different aspects of life efficiently.
She recognized the positive impact of the new buses on employment opportunities for women, acknowledging the potential for diverse roles such as drivers, mechanics, and monitors within the public transport sector. She noted that this resonates with efforts to promote gender equality and economic empowerment by providing avenues for women to contribute meaningfully to the transportation industry.
Concluding her statement, the First Lady underscored the imperative of fostering harmony and solidarity to propel the nation forward as a united and cohesive society. The initiatives unveiled during the public transport reforms launch, coupled with the unwavering advocacy from Madam Fatima Maada Bio, signifies a concerted effort to address critical societal issues and bolster the advancement of women's safety, empowerment, and economic participation within Sierra Leone.