I have been involved in a number of walks as part of the Walk for Survival in Sierra Leone, starting with the first event in Freetown.
In Sierra Leone, we know that for some people, there is the perception that women, even when they are abused, should not speak up. Together, through the 16 Days of Activism and the Walk for Survival, we are doing great work highlighting this issue and speaking up for something that most people are not bold enough to stand up for.
Why do we walk?
Walks like this enforce to others what we stand for, that we are passionate about what we are doing and are ready to go to the ends of the Earth to see that what we believe in becomes a reality.
Even though our messages are serious, I have experienced so much joy from participating. It feels good to communicate what we want, the change we want to see. There are so many moments I will remember for a long time.
Setting the pace
It is fascinating to see that during these walks, we have created the momentum amongst other organisations. As soon as we launched the walk in Freetown, we saw so many organisations taking it up, having a walk against gender-based violence. We have also seen how it has created the space for youth participation, even working with a singer-songwriter, Odelia Jamie Koroma, to create a song for the campaign.
It feels like we are setting a pace that others want to follow. Not just for the activity's sake, but to complement our efforts and show a seriousness to the government to say it is not enough to say that there are laws stating they are there to protect women and children, but we need to step up in ensuring that violators are seriously dealt with, they face the law, and we ensure that these things are made public.
We hope that this will become an annual activity – something that we can use to speak to our government, to spur them to act against all gender-based violence.