1st Lady Grabs Award


The First Lady, Mrs. Fatima Jabbe Bio has been named among the 2018 Global 100 list of Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) in the humanitarian and religious class.

To show how important the award is, she is listed among world renowned personalities such as Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia, Chadwick Boseman of the USA, Meghan the Duchess of Sussex and sportsman Colin Kaepernick of USA.

In support of the international decade for people of African descent proclaimed by United Nations General Resolution 68/237 to be observed from 2015 to 2024, MIPAD identifies high achievers of African descent in public and private sectors from around the globe as a progressive network of relevant actors to join together in the spirit of recognition, justice and development of Africa.

Madam Fatima Bio bagged the honor in recognition of her involvement in humanitarian work for over 12 years, as well as for the credibility and professionalism that she brings to her role as First lady of Sierra Leone.

After the award in New York, Madam Bio in an interview with BBC in New York before her flight back to Sierra Leone said she appreciated the honour that was accorded her by the UN. She said the honour inspired her to do more.

Madam Bio dilated on her continued humanitarian work in the area of prevention of teenage pregnancy, early marriage, forced marriage and child prostitution. She believes that these societal failures are the root cause of the spread of HIV/AIDS, fistula, infant and child mortality. Her campaign to have these ills put under control, she said, is not only restricted to Sierra Leone but West Africa where, she said, early marriage and teenage pregnancy are prevalent.

Madam Bio said she is also working with other First Ladies, such as those of Ghana, Rwanda and Burkina Faso who, she said, have had an earlier start to network on the challenges of teenage girls which she has identified. She stated that she stands solidly behind her husband because she believes in his cause which, she said, is a noble one. Madam Bio described her husband as a sincere, committed leader that this country needs to move forward because, according to her, he believes that Africans must work to develop Africa instead of always going cap in hand to beg from the West.

Asked to comment on the news that was doing the rounds that her husband’s movement in the United States was restricted to within the precincts of the UN, she stated that her husband is not a criminal and is free to go anywhere in the US, stating that they had been to Washington DC and California.

Asked why she does not travel with a make-up artist, Madam Bio said she does not need one as she loves being natural. “I do not think it is important,” she said, adding, “It is not about how I look. I am me; I do not need to make up to impress anybody.”

On her and her husband travelling on a commercial plane in economy class instead of hiring a private jet, she asked: ‘Why charter a flight to come to New York? Do planes not land at the same airport? I am not bothered about where I seat. I am just me,” she repeated.