A Maryland Woman Is Returning to Sierra Leone with a Purpose

A young Maryland woman is returning to her native Sierra Leone with plans to make some changes for young women in that West African country.  For the past year, Francess Cole has planned this trip to make a difference in the lives of young women in Sierra Leone.  She began with the launch of a special sanitary napkin drive here in the United States.  Francess Cole wants the young women of Sierra Leone to succeed in whatever dreams they can imagine.  The girls in Sierra Leone and probably the girls in many other African countries cannot afford to purchase sanitary napkins.

Cole told Global Woman Newsletter, “I remember when I was a young girl in Sierra Leone we could not afford sanitary napkins.”  She continued, “I had to improvise by using cloth and making homemade napkins.”

According to Francess Cole, many girls in Sierra Leone are forced to stay out of school during their menstrual periods because they cannot afford sanitary napkins during that time of the month.  Some girls remain at home up to five days each month or as long as their menstrual periods last.  Sierra Leone is listed as one of the poorest countries in the world; therefore their schools cannot afford to hand out sanitary napkins to female students.

“I know what I went through as a girl in Sierra Leone, and I don’t want to see anymore girls stay out of school every month only because of the lack of sanitary napkins, something we take for granted in the US.”  Cole explained.

A local women’s club in Northern Virginia heard about Cole’s sanitary napkin drive.  The National Association for Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club (NANBPWC) came forward to assist Francess in collecting sanitary napkins.  After a year, she has already shipped ahead several boxes of sanitary napkins to Sierra Leone.  When asked how many napkins she has set as an annual goal? Cole responded, “Unlimited – I do not want to tag the drive with a number.  Whatever we cannot afford to ship in a year, we will roll it over to the next year’s shipment.  There cannot be too many napkins at this point.”

Francess told Global Woman Newsletter in a recent conversation that the young women in Sierra Leone are already excited at the prospect of her arrival.  Cole plans to arrive in Sierra Leone in May, where she intends to conduct a workshop and speak to more than fifty young women.  Sanitary napkins are not the only thing these young women need.  They are in dire need of mentorship.  Francess intends to hold the workshop to motivate and inspire young women in Sierra Leone; stressing such things as remaining in school, avoiding teenage pregnancy, early child marriage, and most of all, to avoid becoming prey to the practice of female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C).  Francess says she plans to coordinate a mentorship program while in Sierra Leone.  The program is designed to continue long after she returns to the U.S.  She will engage responsible women in that country to mentor young women; the women will take the younger women under their wings and become examples to them.  She hopes that what she implements during her visit to Sierra Leone will be impactful and will leave an indelible mark among the young women.

Cole also survived female genital mutilation/cutting at the age of ten in Sierra Leone, and later, survived rape as well when she was still a teenager.  She understands and can identify with the daily challenges the young girls and women face in Sierra Leone and other parts of the world.  Francess continues to advocate against the practice of FGM/C, both here in the U.S. and in her country of origin.  She insists that the Sanitary Napkin Drive is closely related to the practice of FGM/C; since majority of the same adolescent girls who are forced to remain out of school during their monthly periods were once subjected to the FGM/C procedure.

In addition to sanitary napkins, the attendees can expect to receive pencils, toothpaste, toothbrushes and other toilet articles in their takeaway bags at the workshop.  The common things to which teenagers and young adults have easy access in the U.S, their counterparts in Africa might not see in their entire lifetime.  According to Cole, “The first fifty women to arrive at the workshop will receive a gift bag loaded with toilet articles and other necessities.

To date, Sierra Leone, Mali and Liberia are the three West African countries that have yet to put a ban on the practice of FGM/C.  Global Woman Newsletter will revisit this story when Cole returns from her trip to Sierra Leone.  She will give our readers an update of her return to Africa.

Francess A. Cole

Francess Cole continues to raise funds to support her trip to conduct this project.  If you are interested in donating to her trip, please send inquiries to francess@facole.org.

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation’s 2017 Calendar


  • 25th Annual Children’s Justice Conference – April 11th through 12th
  • Support/Focus Group Meeting – April 22nd at Noon
  • Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) – April 13th through 21st
  • 11th Annual Dr. Julianne Malveaux Women’s History Luncheon/Awards – April 23rd
  • Walk To End FGM registration begins – May
  • Vacances San Excision (Summer without Cutting) Camp – August
  • Walk To End FGM on October 21st
  • Giving Tuesday – November 28th

We will update this calendar as the year progresses.  Please mark your calendars, as we work toward a prosperous 2017.

Make Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation Your Favorite Charity in 2017

When you shop during the year at Amazon, please select Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation as your charity of choice.

In your charitable contributions and donations in 2017, please consider Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation by either through the DONATE BUTTON below or by sending a check to Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation, 14001A Grumble Jones Court, Centreville, Virginia 20121.  Your generous donations are tax deductible.  Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

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The guidelines to submit an announcement are to appear in this newsletter:

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Weekly Word-Scramble

Do you enjoy playing with words?  This is a fun way to see how well you can unscramble the following words.  We will reveal the unscrambled words in next week’s edition of the newsletter.  If you enjoyed this, write and give us your feedback to info@globalwomanpeacefoundation.org.

Can you unscramble the following five words?

This Week’s Scrambled Words







Last Week’s Scrambled Words                               Last Week’s Unscrambled Words

STRUCTIVERECON                                                            RECONSTRUCTIVE

GERYSUR                                                                              SURGERY

RATIVERESTO                                                                    RESTORATIVE

RALOTICL                                                                            CLITORAL

BIALA                                                                                    LABIA



We give you five scrambled words each week.  We hope you enjoy playing.

How You Can Help & Support Us

Here are some of the ways you can help and support our programs in 2016:

  • Donations (including in-kind donations) globalwomanpeacefoundation.org
  • Partnering (collaborating in one of our programs and/or events)
  • Joining our Internship or Student-Ambassadorship Program
  • Volunteering
  • Donate through employer payroll deduction (through Your Cause, United Way or the government employee giving program)

The Global Woman Center Has Support Group Sessions

Support Group next session is April 22nd.  We invite you to join us at 3920 Alton Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016 at 12:00pm.  Our Counselor on site is Willa Jones, and Amie Jallah is now in charge of the support group.  For one-on-one meetings, contact us for appointments at info@globalwomanpeacefoundation.org or call 703-818-3787.

Important Contacts in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area to Keep Handy

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation               703-818-3787

National Child Abuse Hotline                              800-422-4453

Fairfax County Office for Women                       703-324-5730

Virginia Crime Victim Assistance                        888-887-3418

Montgomery County Abused Persons Program   240-777-4673 (24 hours)

Prince Georges County Sexual Assault                301-618-3154

Prince Georges County Child Advocacy Center  301-909-2089

Baltimore City Child Abuse Center                     410-396-6147

Frederick County Child Advocacy Center           301-600-1758

Howard County Listening Place                          410-313-2630

Washington County Child Advocacy Center       240-420-4308

District of Columbia Metropolitan Police             202-727-9099

Alexandria Victim/Witness Program                    703-746-4100

Arlington County Victim/Witness Program         703-228-7273

Loudon County Victim Witness Program             703-777-0417

Prince William County Victim/Witness                703-392-7083

Attention: The U.S. government opposes FGM/C, no matter the type, degree, or severity, and no matter what the motivation for performing it. The U.S. government considers FGM/C to be a serious human rights abuse, gender-based violence, and, when done to children, a form of child abuse. It is against the law to perform FGM/C in the United States on a girl under the age of 18 or to send or attempt to send her outside the United States so FGM/C can be performed. People who violate this law can face prison time and significant immigration consequences. Additionally, anyone who performs FGM/C on a woman 18 years old or older without her consent may be charged with a crime under other laws.  If someone performed FGM/C on you, you have not violated any U.S. laws and are not at fault, call 1-800-994-9662.