Mr. Stephen Gaojia has over two decades of experience working at the government level for global health initiatives and for women and children. He previously served as the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender, and Children’s Affairs in Sierra Leone. During his tenure as Minister, he launched the National Referral Protocol on Gender-Based Violence (GBV), the National Action Plan (NAP) on GBV and enacted the Sexual Offenses Act of 2012. In addition to his commitment to women’s freedom from GBV, he facilitated the implementation of the NAP on UNSCR 1325 and subsequently established a Steering Committee to oversee its implementation.
After serving as Minister, Mr. Gaojia became the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the National Ebola Response Center in Sierra Leone, where he oversaw the financial management of Ebola response initiatives and operations. As COO, he also served as a member of the Global Ebola Response Coalition at the United Nations Level, representing Sierra Leone’s experiences and learning in global forums. Mr. Gaojia’s further intersectional experiences with health and gender include consulting for WaterAid, Sierra Leone on the HerWASH Project for Menstrual Hygiene and acting as an Interim Team Lead for the Ministry of Health & Sanitation, Sierra Leone.
Mr. Gaojia currently works as the Strategic Planning & Quality Assurance Advisor to the National COVID-19 Emergency Response Center in Sierra Leone, where he reviews and advises the coordination and implementation of National Response Plans to effectively address challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. He holds a MA in Psychology (Penn State University) and a BA in Education (University of Sierra Leone).