Training of Activistas on Land Grab Campaign Techniques, Advocacy and Communication

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WOFHRAD-SL has on the 5th June, 2015 concluded a day training for Activistas in the Bombali District, Northern Sierra Leone. The training drew participants from our three (3) operational chiefdoms in the district and youths groups in the Makeni municipality.

The training was meant to address some of the critical land grabbing issues and implications that could be used by Activistas to launch their campaigning techniques and communications. It was also organized   to develop a common understanding of local, national to international campaigning and campaign planning methodologies (including how to set goals for campaigning and their monitoring and evaluation).

Notwithstanding, the training will create opportunity to meet and share ideas that will be used as campaign and lobby issues to influence decision makers and stakeholders at community level. Also, Activistas will come up with mobilisation ideas to further engaged decision makers.

Finally, it was geared towards setting broad directions for key initiatives to strengthen campaigning capacity, campaign planning and associated competencies.

Food Supply to Sponsorship Children

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As part of the response to the current Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Women’s Forum for Human Rights and Democracy (WOFHRAD-SL) has been in the forefront as part of their commitment to the people of Sierra Leone and efforts towards the fight against the EVD. Coupled with other interventions in the fight, WOFHRAD with funds from Actionaid International Sierra Leone has engaged in the distribution of food items to 800 sponsorship children in two chiefdom in the Bombali District, Northern Sierra Leone. The reason for this activity is to prevent a health situation from becoming a food crisis.  The spread of the Ebola virus has worsen the livelihoods of rural people. Isolated chiefdoms/communities find it more difficult, especially when restricted to move to fend for themselves. The food items include, rice, palm oil, salt and maggie. beyond food response, WOFHRAD-SL in collaboration with Actionaid International Northern Regional Office has held stakeholders meetings to pave the way for a robust and continuing door-to-door and word of mouth sensitization on signs and symptoms, prevention and breaking the chain of transmission of Ebola and what to do when someone is suspected of Ebola. Also, to dialogue with community leaders to find better ways to prevent the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in their different communities.

Meet our new volunteers!

Kadiatu Kargbo

” I was born and raised in Makeni. I am 24 years old and I attended the Northern Polytechnic Makeni Campus, where I obtained a diploma in Business Administration and Management. I am currently working with VSO/ICS and have been placed at WOFHRAD where I am working with my counterpart who is from the UK.

I applied for this programme because I want to know the different background and culture of people around the world. I would also like to develop my personal skills, for example, being able to motivate people, work as a team, build up my communication skills, be able to speak in public and work for my country and communities at large, and also to make new friends and learn from them. My favourite game is football, I like reading novels, my favourite pet is the dog I love it so much because it is friendly and acceptable.”

Dhakshi Suriar

” I am 23 years old and was born and raised in South West London, Kingston-upon-Thames, which coincidentally is where UK VSO office is  now based. At university I studied Economics and later International Relations. My interest in both subjects led me to my enthusiasm for development and filling out my application for the ICS programme! I was so excited when I was placed with WOFHRAD, as I have a particular passion for working with people and organisations that aim to empower women.

I’ve always loved to travel and learn about different cultures and countries; Sierra Leone is constantly surprising me. My hope is that I will be able to learn something form Sierra Leonean culture to take back home with me and maybe imparting some of my own culture to my counterpart and some of the national volunteers.”

 

Charlotte Langridge

“I was born and raised in the South East of England but I now live in Wales. I am 25 years old and have just finished studying Criminology and Sociology (BSc Econ) and International Relations (MSc) at Cardiff University and University of Bristol respectively. A passion for development and overseas volunteering in Africa motivated me to apply for the VSO-ICS programme. Hence, I was delighted to be accepted onto the Sierra Leone programme. It appealed to me because of its grassroots and youth development aspects, as I strongly believe that effective development should start from the ground up.

Besides volunteering and research African history and current affairs, I enjoy clay-pigeon shooting, swimming, reading crime fiction, socialising with friends and watching the US political drama- Scandal.”

Emmanuel K Kamanda

“I was born and raised in the Northern part of Sierra Leone, West Africa, but I am from a family from the Eastern part of Sierra Leone. I am 25 years old and just finished studying a BSc in Human Resources Management at the University of Makeni; the first private university in Sierra Leone.

Since studying Human Resource Management I have the passion to work with young people, that is the reason why I decided to apply and volunteer for VSO-ICS, to help youth in need of help, needing my moral and social support.|

 

Week One for our new VSO ICS Volunteers

Last week we welcomed four new VSO ICS volunteers to the team, Charlotte Langridge and Dhakshi Suriar from the UK and Kadiatu Kargbo and Emmanuel K Kamanda from Sierra Leone. We are looking forward to working with them on existing projects and them using their own initiatives to carry on the hard work of the last VSO ICS volunteers Salifu Kanu (Sierra Leone) and Sarah Ludbrook (UK) in raising awareness of women and children’s rights in local schools and communities.

In their first week the new team were taken by WOFHRAD co- founder Emilia Kamara to meet Alhaji Stevens, at the Makeni Magistrate’s Court and sit in on some of the cases. This experience was a particularly interesting one for our UK volunteers as, in Sierra Leone, women are not permitted to wear trousers in the Magistrate’s Court and it is customary for them to cover their hair. One particular case was where two men embezzled the sum of Le1 billion worth of goods from one of the richest construction companies in Makeni. The team hope to monitor court cases in the future particularly those related to women and gender based violence.

(Left to Right) Volunteers Charlotte, Kadiatu, Dhakshi & WOFHRAD co-founder Emilia. photographed by Emmanuel
(Left to Right) Volunteers Charlotte, Kadiatu, Dhakshi & WOFHRAD co-founder Emilia. photographed by Emmanuel

The volunteers also attended a validation meeting at Makeni City Hall to present the final Constraints Analysis Report of the Millennium Challenge Cooperation Unit (MCCU), an agency of the US government. After prayers and welcomes by the Chief Administrator, Paramount Chief and Professor Strasser-King, the MCCU Coordinator presented an overview of the report. It looks at areas seen as major barriers to foreign investment leading economic growth and development.

The report outlines conditions on which Sierra Leone must make progress in order to continue receiving funding from the MCCU). The areas to be improved upon include; Civil Liberties, Rule of Law, Freedom of Information, Protection of Environment, Access to Credit for small businesses. More specifically, the areas in which Sierra Leone must make progress are infrastructure, water and sanitation, and most importantly tackling corruption.

One of the initiatives to improve Water and Sanitation is The Distribution Authority and Generation Authority have been setup to regulate and improve electricity supply. The hope is to increase the supply of electricity from 3-4 areas of the country to 9-11 areas.There is also an initiative to increase access to safe water in order to improve sanitation in the western areas of the country. It is estimated the water and sanitation project will cost around US$150m, the largest to ever take part in Sierra Leone.

The issue most concerning to the MCCU is corruption levels. Sierra Leone failed the level of corruption set as acceptable by the MCCU and tested by external agencies such asTransparency International (TI) and Freedom House in 2013. Steps taken to address this issue area so far include:

  • The establishment of the Freedom of Information Act encouraging businesses to publish their financial statements, aimed at increasing transparency.
  • The “Pay No Bribe Campaign”, set up to raise awareness and combat of corruption within the government and official offices.

Next week our volunteers are hoping to attend two training sessions; one on‘Training of Trainers’ session led by WOFHRAD’s main donor ActionAid and an Accountability Session led by ENCISS.This will prepare our volunteers for the many sessions they are planning to facilitate in the coming weeks.

Written by Charlotte Langridge and Edited by Emmanual K Kamanda, Kadiatu Kargbo and Dhakshi Suriar, VSO ICS volunteers.

Accountability Forum with Makeni City Council

On Tuesday 5th November, WOFHRAD-SL facilitated an accountability forum with Makeni City Council on the theme ‘Know Your City Development Plan’. Over 200 people attended the forum where Makeni City Council disclosed their city plan, what money they have received through taxes and other funding, and how they spend the money they receive.

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Fatmata Sieowoh chaired the session and speakers included; Emilia Kamara, acting national coordinator, Mr Sandy, regional manager of the anti-corruption comission, Christian Lawrence, Governance coordinator of actionaid Sierra Leone, Ibrahim Fatu Kamara, Director of Action for Advocacy and Development in Sierra Leone (AAD-SL), and Numa Maningo, Development Planning Officer of the Makeni City Council.

After opening speeches, Numa Mandigo presented the Development Plan for Makeni City Council highlighting different sectors such as; media, water sanitation, health, education, social affairs and gender affairs, social waste management, agriculture, fire prevention and other relevant topics.

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Participation was high throughout and those attending praised the session as useful and all hoped for similar sessions to be held in the future.

WOFHRAD-SL already has another accountability session planned for later this month and we will keep you informed on how it goes.

Training of Mother Clubs, Child Ambassadors and School Management Committees.

Two weeks ago WOFHRAD-SL visited various villages in the Bombali District to set up Child Ambassador Clubs, Mother Clubs and School Management Committees. This week we invited two people from each of the clubs to Makeni for a three day training session. In total we had 36 people present from 6 different villages.

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The sessions covered a variety of issues from Child Rights, to how to spot abuse happening to children, to how to ensure transparency in your local school. Together all the sessions ensured the clubs were able to support their local communities by acting as role models and promoting child rights, especially the right to education.

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The sessions were all very interactive and allowed the club members to develop their public speaking, negotiation and presentation skills. This was so they will be confidant in sharing what they have learnt with the rest of their club members and their whole community.

 

The training was a complete success, with everyone taking part and contributing their ideas and opinions throughout!

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The Road to Kamakwie

Recently, we have traveled to Kamakwie for various field work. Unfortunately, calling it a road may be a stretch of the imagination. Parts are merely rocks, streams and rivers cross it freely, bridges are made of rotten planks of wood, and the amount of holes in the road have caused many a vehicle to break down. Thankfully, the scenery is stunning so you have something beautiful to look at while waiting two hours for the vehicle to be fixed.

 

The road to Kamakwie is indeed a bumpy, dangerous, troublesome road. But it is a beautiful road as well. We have included pictures below, both of the road and us broken down, so you can get an idea of what we’re talking about. Enjoy!

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Promoting Rights in Schools

WOFHRAD-SL, with funding from Actionaid International Bombali LRP, have been busy promoting rights in schools to raise awareness of education and the benefits to children, parents, community and the nation.

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On Monday 21st October, we went to Masankorie Village in the Sella Limba chiefdom, Bombali District. Over 200 people attended the talk, including pupils from the nearby school, teachers, community stakeholders such as the Paramount Chief, and women’s groups. On Tuesday 22nd October, we also went to Pelewala Village in the Magbaimba N’dowahun chiefdom and did a talk to the local school children and teachers.

Both talks were a success as everyone participated throughout and all present were very positive about maintaining rights in schools, but what are these rights?

  1. Right to free & Compulsory Education
  2. Right to non-discrimination
  3. Right to adequate infrastructure
  4. Right to quality trained teachers
  5. Right to a safe & non-violent environment
  6. Right to relevant education
  7. Right to know your rights
  8. Right to participate
  9. Right to transparent & accountable schools
  10. Right to quality learning

Tomorrow we will do a further talk promoting rights to schools in Manokoh Village, Bombali Shebora chiefdom. We will let you know next week how it went!

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Training 20 Rural Women Farmers.

On Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th October, WOFHRAD-SL facilitated training for 20 rural women farmers, funded by ActionAid. Topics covered included basic agronomic farming methods, seed bank management and post harvest management. The aim of the training was to move women in Bombali Shebora from subsistence farming to productive farming, ensuring they can gain profit from their land to give better food and medical security for their families.

 

The training was an outstanding success, with the women fully participating in the discussions and group work. They were full of energy and even taught our two VSO-ICS volunteers how to sing and dance in the breaks! At the end of the two days every woman could say one thing they had learnt that they would pass on to another woman in their community, ensuring even more women would benefit from the training and that the project would be sustainable and have an even greater impact.

 

We took lots of amazing photos which we will try and update later!