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Ensuring rights and choices for all during the COVID-19 pandemic

2020 was a year like no other. It was a year that tested us in the face of a once-in-a-century global health crisis.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic showed us just how vital UNFPA’s mandate is around the world and in Sierra Leone because all too often when crisis strikes, it is women and girls who are mostly affected.

 

Our work as a public health and social development organisation throughout 2020 was deemed essential by the women, girls and others we serve. Together with our partners and in solidarity with communities, our efforts ensured that life-saving sexual and reproductive health services continued, that contraceptives and other supplies were delivered, even to the last mile; that women and girls were safe from harm and that survivors of violence received the care and support they needed. We recognise that no one is immune from the pandemic’s effects and those we serve, the poorest, the most vulnerable women and girls, are suffering tremendously and bearing the brunt.

 

In 2020, UNFPA in Sierra Leone was committed to keeping a human rights approach ahead and centre of our mandate to ensure the success of our vital initiatives so we can deliver our three transformative results. These aspiring results are zero preventable maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning and zero gender-based violence and against women and girls.

 

COVID-19 and its consequences may be with us for a while longer but as a country office, we will keep exploring opportunities for transformation, new partnerships and new ways of working to improve women’s lives. We will continue to highlight the increased risks facing women, adolescent girls and other marginalised groups because we remain committed to advocacy and action.

 

There has never been a better time for UNFPA to generate advocacy and action to defy practices that harm women and girls and undermine equality. Together with our partners, we commit to doing everything we can to achieve gender equality and sexual and reproductive justice, and advance policies that prioritise bodily autonomy and human rights for all people in Sierra Leone.