Sierra Leonean politician and pan-African parliamentarian, leads FAO initiatives on sustainable agriculture and gender equality.
Bernadette Lahai’s life is marked by her love for the rural world, agriculture and the women’s education. Her gaze is particularly enriching because she combines a humble rural background and her undeniable entrepreneurial ability with a great academic background, her technical work in multilateral organisations and her extensive experience in Sierra Leone’s politics and the Pan-African space.
PhD in Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Lahai has worked for 13 years at the Center for Agricultural Research in Njala from a rural and technological perspective. She is an expert in gender and the social sector. She has been a Member of Parliament in Sierra Leone since 2002, a leader of the minority, and Vice-President of the Pan-African Parliament between 2015 and 2018.
At the age of 60, Bernadette has started working on an initiative led by FAO, where she is a national consultant and coordinator of women farmers’ projects.
She has been a key driver of the Parliamentary Alliances in the Pan-African and Sierra Leonean Parliaments. Now, she continues supporting parliamentary alliances by mentoring deputies.
Currently, she is developing an integrated and sustainable agricultural and livestock project, together with her husband who is a University Professor. This project aims to offer students an applied training and a place where they can carry out their research and agricultural projects. Bernadette considers it necessary to build resilient agriculture to combat the effects of climate change, but this requires investment in information and communication technologies (ICTs).