Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was presented with a Key to the City and named a Freetown Climate Change Ambassador during a recent visit to Sierra Leone. During her visit, Madam Sirleaf was hosted by Amujae Leader Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, and met with other distinguished Sierra Leonean women leaders, including Amujae Leader Dr. Yakama Manty Jones, Director of Research and Delivery at the Ministry of Finance in Sierra Leone.
Arriving at Freetown’s New City Hall, Madam Sirleaf was received by Freetown City Council’s (FCC) women councilors and presented with the Key to the City by Mayor Aki-Sawyerr. Madam Sirleaf next paid a visit to a local school, where hundreds of trees have been planted, to meet with community representatives and campaign workers who are implementing FCC’s Transform Freetown initiative. Part of the initiative, which was launched by Mayor Aki-Sawyerr, involves funding reforestation plans and committing to planting one million trees by 2022 in an effort to help the environment and create sustainable local jobs. Whilst at the school, Madam Sirleaf was presented with a certificate awarding her the title of Freetown Climate Change Ambassador, due to her support of youth climate activists calling for climate justice.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr said:
“‘Freetown the Tree Town’ is not just about planting trees, it is about growing trees using a sustainable model that also creates jobs.”
Following the school visit, Madam Sirleaf joined a group of Freetown’s women leaders for a dinner hosted in her honor. Madam Sirleaf delivered the keynote address, which, in Mayor Aki-Sawyerr’s words, “left every woman in the room determined to fulfill her potential and to provide a platform for other women to do the same.”
Closing the evening, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr highlighted the importance of bringing together women leaders of all ages and walks of life to unlock their potential:
“With a room full of women leaders ranging from age 21 to 94, representing the public, private, and non-profit sectors, the evening’s discourse was about the potential of women being unlocked for the development of our society.”
Click here to read more and hear from other attendees at the dinner, including media personality Phebean Swill and Amujae Leader Dr. Jones.