Statement from the African Women’s Development Fund

On the Occasion of the Commissioning of the 50/50 Group’s Gender and Women’s Leadership Training Institute

The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) congratulates the 50/50 Group on the commissioning of the Women’s Leadership Training Centre which will serve as a hub for learning and for equipping African women with the capacity to shape the future of Africa. We are proud to be associated with this bold venture because we strongly believe that when women are supported to access and influence decision-making, there are proven long-term benefits in advancing gender justice and promoting women’s rights.

We are equally proud of the 50/50 Group and all the women of Sierra Leone for their tenacity, determination and persistence, a trait that is a personification of women across Africa.  Indeed, your resolve, hard work and optimism are as remarkable as they are commendable.

As a result-oriented funder and supporter, AWDF is always proud to work with women’s rights organisations such as 50/50 who always beat the odds to create the right environment to promote the rights of women.  AWDF works with diverse women’s rights organisations and has worked with 35 different women’s rights organization in Serra Leone including small women’s groups in very remote communities. These very resilient women tackle diverse issues ranging from women’s bodily health and rights issues, economic justice issue and leadership and participation issues.

AWDF supported this building project as part of its milestone projects for its 10th anniversary as a memorial to the struggles and determination of African women and to provide them with a safe space to learn, share and deliberate on the myriad of developmental issues confronting them in their communities.  This facility gives the 50/50 Group a great platform and opportunity to train and mentor some of Sierra Leone and Africa’s burgeoning women leaders including and especially young women

We hope that this women’s centre will adopt transformative and innovative training models that will propel not only Sierra Leonean women but women within the sub region on to leading bold transformative responses to challenges confronting our communities.

AWDF believes that the 50/50 Group has surmounted all challenges to get here today because of your determination, but even more so because you believe in the abilities of African women and what the woman can achieve, given the right environment.  We are also confident that you have laid out a very solid plan that will ensure that this building does not become a white elephant but rather a very vibrant and safe space where women can gather, learn from each other and strategise towards a more just world for women.  A gentle reminder that putting up such a beautiful building comes with high expectations and we know that the 50/50 group will live up to that expectation.

Having worked with 50/50 over the past 10 years, we are immensely proud to see how far the organisation has come.  In total AWDF has invested an amount of $125,000 into this Leadership Training Institute and we are happy to see the actualisation of the project.  Over the past 15 years, AWDF has provided funding and capacity building support and solidarity to women’s organisations in Sierra Leone to support your tremendous leadership in tackling deep crises- from the civil war, to Ebola to the daily rights violations that emerge from gender inequality.

Once again well done to the 50/50 Group for their vision and tenacity to dream and see such a project come to fruition.  It takes a lot of passion to go where you have gone. Many dream, few dare and very few actually succeed. You have dared to start this project and you have seen it through.  Wishing you more power, courage and passion to overcome obstacles that may come your way even as you continue this journey.  Congratulations! AWDF’s unstinting support will always be with the 50/50 Group and with the women of Africa