Election of Female at Sierra Leone’s Village Leadership Hailed as Gender Equality Stride

Deputy leader Aminata Kamara, pictured with her three daughters, has become a role model for the women of Konta Bana in Sierra Leone. Credit: Trócaire

The election of a woman to a village leadership position in Sierra Leon has been hailed as a significant stride in gender equality in the West African country.

In a Monday, September 27 report, Trócaire Sierra Leone leadership says the election of Aminata Kamara as the first female Deputy Village leader after the organization’s partner, Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (CDHR) prepared her to surmount societal perceptions against female leadership, is “ground-breaking.”

“Aminata’s success represented ground-breaking change for women in her native Sierra Leone,” says the Sierra Leonian leadership of the overseas development agency of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland, adding, “Overnight she became a role model for other women and girls with leadership aspirations.”

“CDHR led training for Aminata and her peers, and supported them to engage their male counterparts to address issues they are facing, such as accessing and owning land, and for women’s inclusion at decision-making levels,” Trócaire Sierra Leone officials say in  the report. 

They add that CDHR “worked with Aminata to support and strengthen her campaign through targeted training in leadership, public speaking and how to mobilize her network for success.”


In the report, officials of Trócaire say that achieving gender equality has been a challenge in the West African country, as was witnessed during Aminata’s campaign for the village leadership position.

“Aminata’s election campaign did not go without backlash from the men she was up against,” they say and continue, “In the run up to the elections, male candidates launched a public smear campaign against her to sabotage her election hopes.”

Men claimed that her candidacy was illegal, and made continual derogatory remarks against her because of her gender, the officials further say.

“Despite these setbacks, Aminata and her supporters courageously carried on. They saw it as an opportunity to rally the troops and to garner more support from the men in their lives, husbands, sons, fathers and neighbors,” Trócaire’s leadership in Sierra Leon says.

In partnership with Trócaire, CDHR prepared Aminata to surmount deeply embedded societal perceptions against women leadership.

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In the September 27 report, Trócaire officials say that on the campaign trail, Aminata and her supporters raised awareness of and contested the negative perceptions against women in power, highlighting the struggles women endure in their day-to-day life.

This enabled her to strengthen her campaign for more female voices in politics, the officials add.

On winning the election, Aminata said, “I am very happy to have been elected Deputy Headwoman. This is the first time a woman has been appointed to such an important decision-making space in my community.”

Aminata’s new position means she can motivate more women to step up into leadership roles, Trócaire leadership says in the September 27 report, referencing the cultural traditions in Sierra Leon that have barred women from leadership roles.

While women account for 52% of the population in Sierra Leone, they occupy less than 20% of elected positions, the leadership of Trócaire Sierra Leone observes, noting that when women are part of the decision-making forums, a transformative agenda for women and girls across the country can be achieved.


“Success is not only measured in terms of the number of seats that women secure, but also in terms of the number of women who take the risk of vying for office,” says Trocaire officials in Sierra Leone.

They add, “Trócaire continually supports women to have a voice and to be able to make informed decisions that affect their lives, empowering them within their homes, communities and beyond.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.