Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE: Sierra Leone telegraph: 11 October 2021:
In December 2019, I had the privilege of meeting former President of Liberia, Her Excellency Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Palm Springs, California where we were both speakers at #TEDWomen. Two months later I had the honour of being invited by Madame Ellen to join 14 other women from across the African continent to form the first cohort of her #AmujaeLeaders.
Launched on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2020, the vision for the #AmujaeInitiative is to shift the landscape for women in public leadership in Africa, moving from a culture of tokenism to one that truly values women leaders.
On Saturday 9th October, it was my singular honour to host Madame Ellen for the entire day, following her delivery of the keynote address at the Concord Times Summit on Friday.
It was a full schedule that started with a small breakfast meeting at the home of the Mano River Union Ambassador HE Madame Medina Wesseh that was attended by the Liberian Ambassador to Sierra Leone HE Madame Musu Ruhle, Councillor Zainab Conteh, Chairperson FCC Foreign Relations Committee and a cross section of my team members.
Lunch was a very special occasion during which all the FCC female councillors had an opportunity to hear Madame Ellen’s story, ask questions and gain inspiration for their journeys.
As part of last Saturday’s activities, it was my pleasure to present HE Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf with the “Key to the City” when she arrived at the New City Hall. She was received by the FCC female Councillors and the FCC Foreign and Protocol Officer. Our Metropolitan Police gave her a splendid guard of honour.
An amazing day with a truly amazing icon culminated in an amazing evening! It was my privilege and joy to host a dinner in honour of the former President of Liberia, Her Excellency Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in my capacities as Mayor of Freetown and an Amujae Leader. In a room full of women leaders ranging from age 21 to 94 years old, representing the public, private and non-profit sectors, the evening’s discourse was about the potential of women being unlocked for the development of our society.
Inspiring statements were delivered by media personality Phebean Swill and 2021 cohort Amujae Leader Dr Yakama Jones. The keynote address by Nobel Peace Laureate Madame Ellen was uplifting, inspiring and incredibly motivational. She left every woman in the room determined to fulfil her potential and to provide a platform for other women to do the same.
I look forward to having another opportunity to host Madame Ellen and to have many more of Freetown’s women leaders present as limited spacing was a restriction on this occasion. For now, I am excited to share the messages! #womensupportingwomen #LetsTakeOurSpace!
After receiving the “Key to the City” we took Madame Ellen to the Prince of Wales School which is one of hundreds of sites where trees are currently being planted as part of the second phase of #FreetownTheTreeTown. Madam Ellen heard from FEDURP – our partner CBO responsible for tree growing in Catchment 2, and from other members of our tree growing team. They demonstrated the use of the Tree Tracker App and showed Madame Ellen how she would be able to follow the growth of the tree she planted online.
Madame Ellen was then presented with a certificate by Cllr Murray Conteh confirming her as a Freetown Climate Change Ambassador and with a #FreetownTheTreeTown hat made by our impact investment partner Finor X! Madame Ellen planted a Neem tree with tree tracker code WAC2Neem172.
It was an inspiring and enjoyable exercise, even as we emphasized and illustrated that #FreetownTheTreeTown is not just about planting trees, it is about growing trees using a sustainable model that also creates jobs.
We were joined by eager school children who warmly welcomed Madame Ellen and by the agriculture department teachers who have been part of the process and are committed to securing
Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr – OBE