Tourism Ministry Certifies 800 Women Entrepreneurs on Handicraft Skills

The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs with support from World Bank, Sierra Leone Economic Diversification Project (SLEDP) has certified 800 women entrepreneurs trained by Madam Wokie. The women who had undergone months of training to develop craft, artisan and entrepreneurial skills in the tourism and hospitality industry received their certificates at a well-attended ceremony held at Freetown City Council Hall.

In her keynote address, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Mrs. Nabeela Farida Tunis intimated that they were gathered to celebrate a wonderful crop of women who have been trained, guided and taught by Madam Wokie. “The training programme which was supported by SLEDP started in July, 2023 and ended in February, 2024, initially targeted 400 women from Bureh, Kent, Bonthe, Number 2, Leicester and Bathurst communities and was extended to accommodate an additional 400 due to the demand of the women”, she stated.

She continued that the focus of the just concluded training was to improve on the tourism value chain for growth oriented craft women, a reason she was convinced that the 800 women now have the capacity to improve, expand and diversify the quality of their product to meet market demands. “The Ministry will make a conscious effort to recognize women in tourism by celebrating their achievement and promoting the concept of having an industry where women sit at the helm of hospitality, the Ministry would showcase 20-30 businesses managed by the graduates from Madam Wokie this October in order to activate additional resources to train more women”, she added



Mrs. Tunis remarked that concrete steps to project and promote interventions and inventions that are unique to Sierra Leone will be taken, hence she encouraged them to train and mentor other women that were not fortunate to be part of the training. She called on the Ministry of Trade and Industry to provide a permanent space for the women to display and market their products. She on behalf of President Bio thanked the tutors, and Lead Trainer, Mary Ann-Kai Kai for the dedication and commitment to uplift women entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone.

In her remarks, Madam Yokie expressed gratitude to the Ministry and SLEDP for the opportunity and support, while saying that she insisted to train women to cushion the gender gap in Sierra Leone. she commended the women for their commitments saying that many have started selling their products to reputable individuals and institutions in and out of Sierra Leone. She called on Ministry of Basic Education for Sierra Leone gara to be the official school uniform for school going kids.

The programme was chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Edward Kwame Yankson while the Director of Tourism, Mohamed Jalloh articulated the background of the training that led to the graduation and certification of the 800 women. Other speakers include the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Fatmata Wurie, the World Bank SLEDP Coordinator, Mary Jalloh, World Bank Senior Private Sector Specialist, Louise Twining-Ward and the Director of Gender, Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Goodie Sowonie.

The General Manager of the National Tourist Board, Fatmata Hamid Carew, the Administrative Manager of the Monuments and Relics Commission, Ann-Marie Kamara and representatives from the diplomatic community were all in attendance.

The high point of the occasion was the musical performance by popular rapper, Drizilik. Natasha Beckley also performed and read a poem in appreciation of the creative talents. The performances thrilled the audience and got people on their feet.

MTCA Communications