H. E. Fatima Maada Bio

First Lady of Sierra Leone

First Lady, Madam Fatima Maada Bio is motivated by pan- Africanist ideals and she is a strong believer in women empowerment as key to sustainable development . Born on November 27th 1980 in Sierra Leone, she pursued her passion for women empowerment as First Lady by staging a peaceful protest against gender based violence. It was a historic march, for the first time in history, First Ladies from different African Countries came together in unity and joined the peaceful protest march on the streets of Freetown in December 2018. This was the beginning of her very powerful campaigned themed “Hands Off Our Girls”.

Born into the Mandingo tribal circle, she knew who her husband would be at age 10. She narrowly escaped Child marriage and started philanthropic work at a very tender age of 16. Her Excellency, started her education at the Ansarul Islamic School in Kono, where she did her primary education and part of her Secondary schooling. She later joined the Saint Joseph convent in Freetown (Capital City) for her GCSE studies.

She later relocated to London after her escape from the child marriage plot. In London she pursued her passion and thirst for charity work. Her personal story is her main motivation and she has traveled the world providing support to vulnerable children, especially in Africa.

She has Bachelors of Art degrees in Performing Art from the Roehampton Institute of London and in Journalism from the University of Arts, London College of Communication.

Worth noting about Sierra Leone’s illustrious first lady is the niche she has garnered for herself through hard-work over the years in the entertainment industry in which she was an actress, Script Writer, executive producer and a multi award winning face of Nollywood industry. Among her barrage of prominent features in cinema is the ‘Mirror Boy’, which she played the lead character and the movie ‘Battered’ which concept is based on Gender Based Violence. Battered was written and produced by her.

First Lady Maada Bio has received several awards including;

  1. Honoured with the Warrior Award at the International Women of Power Luncheon in California, U.S.A. for her bravery and outstanding contribution towards women and girls in Sierra Leone.
  2. Honoured as one of the most influential people of African descent under 40 in New York, United States.
  3. Miss Africa in 2000.
  4. “Best Supporting Actress” for the movie Mirror Boy
  5. In 2011 “Best Actress Award” from the Black Ethnics, Fashion and Film.
  6. In September 2013, Mrs Fatima Jabbe-Bio was voted the best female.
First Lady Maada Bio launched one of the most powerful Women’s empowerment campaign called “Hands Off Our Girls” in December 2018. History was made, when First Ladies from across Africa joined the peaceful protest March against Gender Based Violence on the streets of Freetown, Sierra Leone. It was a clear simple message “Hands Off Our Girls”.

The effective “Hands Off Our Girls” campaign ultimately led to the President, H. E. Rtd Brig. Julius Maada Bio’s declaration of a National Emergency on Rape and Sexual Violence in Sierra Leone on the 7th Feb 2019, and subsequent revision of the sexual offences act in September 2019.

Internationally, the First Lady has taken #HandsOffOurGirls to Canada; during the “Women Deliver Conference, The BBC London and The Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. Very recently, President Julius Maada Bio and First Lady Fatima Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, launched #HandsOffOurGirls campaign at a High Level meeting on the margin of the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on the 25th of September 20019 at St. Regis New York.
In line with the UN sustainable development goals, the Hands off our Girls session in New York focused on “ Advancing campaign on the reduction of Early Marriage and Rape in Africa for the promotion of human capital development”.Statements were delivered by important global personalities such as Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation; Dr Akinwunmi Adeshina, President of African Development Bank, Mr Dereje Wordofa – UNFPA Deputy Executive Director; Mr Ziad Dalloul, Founder of Africell; Her Excellency Mrs Clar M. Weah, First Lady of the Republic of Liberia and Her Excellency Mrs Emine Erdogan, First Lady of Turkey. The declaration by First Ladies in Africa supporting the campaign was read by H. E. Madam Jeannette Kagame, the First Lady of Rwanda. Other First Ladies in attendance were Mali, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Niger, Chad, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In Sierra Leone First Lady personally took the Campaign to 14 of the 16 districts in Sierra Leone during the National roll-out of the campaign.

Her Excellency’s fight against Cancer, she has taken internationally. She secured the funding of several doctors to study oncology from the Merck foundation. She also hosted the most awareness raising commemoration of World Cancer Day in West Africa on the 4th of February 2019.

She used the Cancer Day commemoration to present to the government and the world, the model for an International Medical Centre. Her vision is to have the most advanced medical centre in the world in Sierra Leone, that will serve the MANO river union, with international affiliation agreements with some of best teaching hospitals in the world.

December 14 2019, she launched the Free Sanitary pads initiative for school girls in Sierra Leone, to compliment the governments free quality education initiative.

Beside her battery of laurels, First Lady Fatima Bio won the Gathering of African Best (GAB) Awards for her exceptional contribution to promoting a positive image of Africans around the world. This is important because her determination to build and motivate in every area goes beyond the shores of Sierra Leone.

Her prowess and strategy was noticed by the nation during the 2018 elections in Sierra leone where she took a pro-active role. She was able to broker peace easily amongst warring parties. Her down-to-earth communication skills was not only due to her formal education, but also her affinity with the grassroots.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London in 2018 , the Queen of England was excited to meet with Africa’s newest first Lady. The Queen was impressed with her tenacity in helping to change the perception of the role of women in politics.

In line with her husband’s vision, First Lady Bio believes education is key. Her philanthropic character is inborn and she is a fantastic role model that leads by example. Her greatest strength is her ability to achieve any goal she sets. Some say it is divine, but people close to her say it is pure, undiluted hard work, while others insist it is a combination of both divine intervention and hard work.

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