“Education is the Universal Key” says H.E Fatima Maada Bio

Her Excellency Fatima Maada Bio, the First Lady of Sierra Leone, made these remarks as she delivered a public lecture at the University of The Gambia.
With hundreds of students from various disciplines, H.E Madam Bio spoke on “Human Capital and the Need for Students to Stay in School”.
“I am happy to have this opportunity especially because I have seen so many women here… If we are talking about development it is about human capital”, she said.
She expressed her optimism about the prospects of the country as more women are getting education, saying that this was not the case some years ago.
“Education is the universal key. As women, we need to equip ourselves with the tools to face the challenges of the new millennium” adding that “gone are those days when a man looks at a 13-year-old and call her a wife”.
The First Lady, who is a Sierra Leonean-Gambian, launched the “Hands Off Our Girls” campaign in 2018 to advocate against gender-based violence that attracted global headlines as her counterparts from across the continent joined her peaceful protest in Freetown.
“I want the University to rekindle the relationship so that students from The Gambia can go for exchange programmes to Freetown while Sierra Leonean students can also visit the Gambia because there is so much, we can learn from one another”, she said as she reminisced on ties between the countries.
Earlier, Prof. Faqir Muhammad Anjum, the Vice Chancellor of the University welcomed her to the institution on behalf of the students and administration. The Vice Chancellor commended Madam Bio for her role in enhancing women and girls across the continent, while he challenged the students to reignite their thirst  and pursuit for knowledge.
Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, gave a historical overview of the cordial relations between the two countries dating back to colonial era. “We had many of our civil servants studying in Sierra Leone”, the Political Science lecturer revealed as he emphasized on the importance of exchange programmes in furthering social cohesion among African countries.
Miss Fatoumata Jallow, the Vice President of the University Students’ Union thanked the First Lady for delivering an inspiring lecture. She said women have now recognized their role as “partners and not competitors to men”, she concluded.
Her Excellency had a brief meeting with the Vice Chancellor and his senior management before concluding the visit with an informal session with the student representatives of the University.