Vital Training for Peace Mothers in Moyamba

 Capacity building to improve formal and non-formal institutions in Sierra Leone and other parts of the World is very vital to development aspirations. Since the inception of Peace Mothers, about ten years ago starting from Kailahun to other Fambul Tok’s operational areas, it has paid dividend to almost all communities as they help to mediate minor conflicts, detect issues that may destabilize them and think otherwise to reconcile people and communities.

Peace Mothers in Bauya town,Kongbora chiefdom

Facilitating leadership and competence building through training sessions for local Peace Mothers platform in conflict early warning identification as well as refresher training for local peace initiatives in mediation to strengthen their knowledge and resources while securing their access and ability to take part in consolidating peace processes. Promoting and facilitating mediation through dialogue activities and truth telling among conflict parties at grassroots level, will enable conflict transformation and sustainable peace using traditional approaches involving respected community members/ leaders. It will also provide necessary support for the empowerment of traditional peacemakers to re-establish non-violent forms of conflict resolution at community level.

A decade now since its establishment in the country, Peace Mothers continue to play active roles in their different communities to help salvage matters that may be impossible to keep people apart. Irrespective of the numerous role in pursuing activities, there are challenges they continue to face which have urged Fambul Tok, with support from African Transitional Justice Legacy Fund to step in and strengthen women in both Fakunya and Kongbora chiefdoms in the South of the country.

 

Fakunya women embraces facilitators at the end of Training in Gandorhun

Training session started off in Gandorhun town chiefdom headquarter town, a 7km road to Moyamba district town on June 19,2020.A total of sixty(60) Peace Mothers from all 11 sections in the chiefdom were present to learn from facilitators different topics including early warning signs ,mediation and reconciliation.

A staff of Fambul Tok in Kabala, Umu Hawa Conteh introduced dignitaries, including Lead Trainer, Mamusu Massaquio, who had varied experiences in conflict resolution, peace building and reconciliation. Communications Manager, Abdul Rashid and Media representative from the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, James Samba was part of the team. The Moyamba team was led by Solomon Yarjoh, followed by Joseph Benjie, Sadiatu Pessima and Mary Bundu.

In her statement, Madam Conteh said it is not possible to have peace without active participation of community members, adding that without peace there is no development and unity in any gathering. She said the objective of training Peace Mothers in those two chiefdoms was to strengthen capacity of women as they work in their various communities. She added that Fambul Tok has over 200 Peace Mothers and choosing from Fakunya and Kongbora chiefdoms must have emanated from issues that had to do with conflicts and other specifications.

Lead Trainer, Mamusu Massaquoi took the podium and introduced topics that women may benefit from during the session. She said rural women should be involved  in conflict resolution, mediation and reconciliation especially in post-election era so that they can also contribute to bring peace and help raise development priorities.

She asked whether women understand conflict and if there are policies in the chiefdom to protect women, youth and children. It was a big surprise to answer and when finally it was announced almost all said it does not exist any more. Madam Massaquoi said chiefdoms should make policies to protect indigenes especially in the fight against things that may affect lives.

The trainer emphasized on how to resolve minor conflicts, how to mediate and reconcile in  most simplified ways. She said mediation is the best policy to engage varied parties that rely on  serious conflict which has no way to resolve issues.

As the session continued , Peace Mothers contributed immensely to topics that will contribute to conflict resolution, mediation and reconciliation. They expressed appreciation to Fambul Tok and ATJLF for providing such opportunities to women in that part of the country. They also suggested that training opportunities in future should include micro-credit gestures, financial support to women groups in small scale businesses and adult literacy for Peace Mothers.

The Peace Mothers were divided into 4 groups for role plays on things they have learnt from facilitators. Before the exercise went on Solomon Yarjoh made a quick display  on mediation to help guide participants as they went into groups.

Group I dealt with conflict resolution and brought important things women should embark on in dealing with the topic. Some of the things they suggested include, level of interventions through constant engagement, siting positions, neutrality, confidentiality etc

Group 2:Early warning signs was dealt with on closure of public market places to avert Covid 19.  A appropriate and timely intervention providing accurate and timely information was role played

Group 3:Mediation role play was seen as the most valued enterprise as participants emphasized that conflicting parties should remain silent while actions were going on. Neutrality was seen as key to mediation processes

Group 4: Dealtwith community reconciliation. It touched on land dispute but participants investigated and went to the scene of crime, knowing fully well the background of the conflict

Feedback on the training process was proudly accepted by all participants from the chiefdom. More facilitations are expected to be done in the whole district.

The following day, Fambul Tok District staff led the team to Bauya town in the Kongbora chiefdom to continue the training process.

Chiefdom Speaker, Solomon Samu Kangaju welcomed participants and opened the forum for the exercise to kick off. He said women in his chiefdom continue to play active roles in minimizing crimes and other forms of violence in the whole chiefdom. He urged participants to listen and share whatever they acquired to their communities.

Umu Hawa Conteh started off by asking participants to identify conflicts. Participants actively intervened and gave examples of conflicts in their various communities and how they have managed to handle issues. She introduced Fambul Tok’s staff and the team from Freetown. She encouraged Peace Mothers to be steadfast in various activities and to help avert problems in their communities, including the use of face to face methods of resolving issues.

Trainer Mamusu Massaquoi took the floor and said women are great pillars of development in communities. She encouraged them not to be put behind the scenes as it used to be,  but to be involved in active engagements to resolve conflicts in the chiefdom. She said women are vulnerable but very powerful when fully engaged in most community services. She explained the qualities of good mediators such as honesty, being a good role models  and serve as pillars of strengthen.

The Bauya session was interactive as Peace Mothers from all ten sections participated.

Before the women were divided into four groups various topics like conflict resolution, mediation, early warning signs and reconciliation were flagged.

The Peace Mothers were divided into groups:

Group 1: Dealt with conflict resolution and settled marital problems. They  were also advised to always use agreement to resolve issues

Group 2:A role play was staged to mediate between sisters on a piece of land. They were told an agreement must be sort to settle matters easily. They were told as mediators they must not be one sided and should use multiple approaches when mediation wants to fail

Group 3:Reconciliation was used as essentials to development. They were told they should  listen attentatively before attempting to embark on peace building efforts

Group 4:This dealt with Early warning signs to prevent potential conflict

At the end of the whole exercise in the feedback session  it came out loud that the training was good and empowered all of them

Future training highlighted included empowerment of women in business enterprises and involvement of male counterparts in training exercises

 

 

 

 

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Government ends 2days confab

 Government holds two-day confab on the Wan Fambul National Framework

The Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning; Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development under the supervision of the Office of the Vice President and its partners opens a 2-day workshop in Freetown to define a focused effort in the next 6 months to put in place the structures, systems and processes that support the roll out of the Wan Fambul National Framework.

 

The retreat, from the 16th to 17th June 2020 at the Home Suite Hotel in Freetown, supported by Fambul Tok and Catalyst for Peace focused on two-fold objectives to define a Strategic Visioning and develop an operational plan for the rollout of the People’s Planning Process (PPP) over the medium to long term; and develop a fund-raising strategy for the solicitation of funding towards the operationalization of the national rollout process.

The minister of Development Francis Kai Kai in opening the forum hailed the WANF as a model for national development and said:

 

“I am especially happy that we are today starting to effectively implement the post-2019 UN General Assembly’s agreed actions on taking forward the roll-out of the Wan Fambul Framework across the 16 districts and 190 chiefdoms of Sierra Leone. The relevance of this model had convinced the Government of Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio to capture it in the Sierra Leone’s Medium Term National Development Plan (2019-2023), under Cluster Four, “Governance and Accountability for Results”.

 

He thanked Fambul Tok and the Catalyst for Peace, including other his colleague Minister’s for the process in becoming a reality.

 

In her statement, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Melrose Kargbo, said the WFNF was deeply linked to the residual Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendation around peace building and national transformation. She said Government remained committed to the process and would support and facilitate the institutionalization of the framework.

 

John Caulker, the Executive Director of Fambul Tok, said that the framework would facilitate an inclusive, community-centered, rural sustainable development leading to resilient and cohesive communities across Sierra Leone. He said the framework would address the critical issues of National Development, through a People’s Planning Process.

 

Libby Hoffman, the President for the Catalyst for Peace, in her statement, through a Zoom video link, explained the global significance of the role Fambul Tok played, noting peace should be built from the inside out and creating the space for those impacted by the violence to lead in the building of peace. She said this would help the world learn from their stories.

 

The retreat was followed by a Technical session on governance establishments, which includes the steering, technical committees and Dr. Emmanuel Gaima, the Governance Adviser to President, moderated secretariat.

 

 

The planning workshop brought together 16 key practitioners in the fields of Governance and development as well as representatives of Government and practitioners who piloted this initiative. The facilitators, including Dr. Sheka Bangura, Director of Planning, Research and Policy, MoPED, Momoh Turay, Technical Adviser to the MoPED, and Patrick Zombo  took them through the process of establishing the WFNF, WFNF Secretariat, Steering Committee, Review post-2019 UNGA conclusion/action on WFNF, Rollout, engagement of 16 district councils with a view to incorporating the WFF; and developing fundraising strategy for the WFNF rollout.

 

 

 

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Fambul Tok Donates Covid safety materials to communities

         Fambul Tok donates Covid 19 safety materials to Communities

Fambul Tok, with support from the Africa Transitional Justice Legacy Fund (ATJLF) has rallied to the clarion call of the president of Sierra Leones to join in the fight against Covid 19 by distributing safety materials such as Veronica buckets, bowls, cakes of soap and face masks to different communities in the country.

Distribution of items
in Kailahun

Receiving the items in Kailahun, a member of the Inclusive District Committee, who is also representing Fambul Tok at the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) in Kailahun Samuel Borbor Vandi said: Fambul Tok played a very big during Ebola period and again it has joined the fight against Covid 19 in the country.

Samuel Borbor Vandi went on to state that the fight against the pandemic requires everyone’s effort and therefore the Government has called on civil society organizations in the country to come onboard.

safety materials

A member of the EOC in Kailahun who doubles as the Development and Planning Officer, Kailahun District Council, Adu Vandi Kondorvoh said the intervention of Fambul Tok is timely for the fact that the district has started registering cases of the disease, and with consistent handwashing practices in communities, the chain of transmission will be curtailed.

Team Lead Fambul Tok in Kailahun District, Lucia Brima had this to say: Our organization’s support to communities will go a long way to safe guard our people from the disease. As we distribute the items, we will also convey messages on how to prevent someone from contracting the disease and remain safe.

In Koinadugu District, Paramount Chief of Wara Wara Yagala, Gbawuru Mansaray was overwhelmed when he was presented with some of the items. He said he has no doubt in the organization as it played a great role towards Ebola few years back. He cautioned communities to use the items judiciously to prevent them from contracting the virus.

Peace Mothers District Coordinator, Koinadugu, Hawa Conteh said as most communities in the district are vulnerable, the items will help  protect people from contracting the disease as long as they comply with measures relating to safety.

Customized Peace Mothers soap

In Moyamba, a member of the Inclusive Committee, Gerald Foday said the distribution of the items will help prevent communities from contracting the virus. He said it takes courage and efforts for any organization to engage communities at this crucial moment.

Working in communities is good but it is also very important to walk along them in crisis period so that you are part of them and your presence is always felt’, Gerald stressed.

District Coordinator, Emergency Operations Centre, Moyamba, Hon. Joseph Kaindor was grateful to Fambul Tok when he was briefed on the roles the organization continues to play in the district and the country as a whole. He called on other organizations in the District to emulate good examples of Fambul Tok in walking alongside communities especially in turbulent times.

Paramount Chief of Kaiyamba, Foday Momoh Gulama appreciated the efforts of Fambul Tok. He said “this is the type of effort we want to see in communities”

Regent Chief of Fakunya, Chief Jola, was full of joy as all of the communities benefitted from the items. He said “ even though I am new here but I have been briefed on the activities of Fambul Tok in Fakunya chiefdom. I heard about the Fakunya chiefdom plan launched in 2015,this is really good initiative by the organization to include communities in development processes”.

Also, Peace Mothers in various districts are re-doubling their efforts to produce sanitized soap towards handwashing practices in the country.

 

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Peje West chiefdom welcomes People’s Planning Process(PPP)

 

Fambul Tok’s desire to bring the people closer to governance and to involve them in all round planning begins to take root in Peje chiefdom. In collaboration with its partners, Inclusive District Committee, religious leaders, section chiefs, chiefdom speaker, members of the chiefdom committee, CSO representatives, youth leaders, representatives of the ward development committee members and their councilors, Peace mothers and religious leader’s the chiefdom’s peoples planning process kicked off earlier in the year. The meeting gave Fambul Tok the approval to cascade the PPP in the chiefdom.

 

FT staff facilitate a meeting

‘We want to see our chiefdom developed and dwell in peace and harmony.’ This was the impression given by the people of Peje West chiefdom as they held consultations for the development of their peoples planning process. Peje West chiefdom is part of constituency 009 in Kailahun district in eastern Sierra Leone. The constituency is made up of Peje West and Yawie.

The Paramount Chief, Dr. Shamsu Mustapha Ngebeh (VI), was crowned on the 25th January, 2020. The chiefdom went through elections for leadership and the contest was characterised by divisive politicking that undermined the long standing common ancestral ties and enviable unity in the chiefdom. There was one death in the elections violence.

 

“Fambul Tok’s intervention into our communities is very timely as there are serious cracks that need urgent fixing for promoting peace, effective governance and development. We are very confident that this new strategy of inclusive People’s Planning Process will help to promote peace, healing and sustainable development in our chiefdom”: explained Pastor Jonathan K. Musa during the consultations at Bunumbu on the 20th February 2020.

Prior to this period, Peje West had had a fair share of bitter experiences both during the gruesome rebel war and the Ebola epidemic.  “There are vestiges of ruined infrastructures and deep seated grudges among our community members. I accepted the divine call to assume leadership with the conviction that my people, more than ever, needed my vast experience, knowledge and skills in mobilizing the much needed human and material resources for the positive transformation of our chiefdom for the common good of the average citizen and the district at large. This dream remains alive! Therefore, the coming of Fambul Tok and its partners with this inclusive approach to healing and sustainable development is very timely for Peje West Chiefdom”: Paramount Chief Ngebeh (VI).

 

Voting by raising hands to accept the process

“We the people of Peje West chiefdom want to lead in our own recovery from conflicts and address future crisis prevention – and we have demonstrated that we can. We want to be the ones to determine our needs and goals and to be participants in the larger crisis prevention efforts in our chiefdom”: said Peje West mammy queen.

 

In the aftermath of the conflicts resulting from the EVD scourge, as a chiefdom and community, we need to continue our efforts to prevent future health related crises and ensure social cohesion and recovery, through continued community engagement, as well as inter-communal and intra communal surveillance on early warning signs, while at the same time, helping to solve our petty community grievances, she said.

 

In that light we stay committed to facilitating conflict resolution within our communities and redouble our efforts at working with the Community Welfare and Mediation Committees to address existing community conflicts

 

We also want to maintain increased awareness, education and communication on infectious disease outbreak (Ebola) and other health related matters in our communities with emphasis on ensuring greater participation of women and youth. To provide basic education services across Peje West Chiefdom. Effort will be made to ensure that all schools operate in an Ebola-free environment that is safe and supportive of pupils, students, teachers and visitors, they listed as part of their priorities.

 

Now with the COVID 19 pandemic, our resolve remains the same. We shall be steadfast in upholding the EVD protocols and any additional one that are useful in prevention of COVID 19 infections. Our by laws are being invoked.

 

The main trust of our plan will be on community resilience and crises prevention; water and sanitation; education; and agriculture with focus on our cash crops of coffee and cacao. Upland and Swamp land farming, Small scale village savings and loan scheme, Cultivation of cacao and coffee, Rearing of domestic animals on small scale, Adult literacy Programme for women, Feeder road construction and maintenance tools.

 

 

 

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Peace Mothers join fight against COVID 19

 

Peace Mothers in Kono , Kailahun, Pujehun and other districts have decided to join the fight against the pandemic COVID 19 that entered the country barely three weeks ago. This is as the result of earlier experiences gained by them during the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone in 2014.The epidemic left a negative trail as nearly 4000 lives perished.

During the Ebola fight peace mothers in  some chiefdoms stood  up and ensured the disease did not enter their communities. One of such is Libeisaygahun chiefdom in Bombali district (now Karena district).

Surrounded by a number of Ebola affected chiefdoms, Libeisaygahun was the only chiefdom that did not record a single case. How did one chiefdom, surrounded by other communities with Ebola outbreaks, managed to remain Ebola-free?  Fambul Tok Peace Mothers worked in collaboration with community members to compliment the national effort to eradicate Ebola disease in the country by engaging in house-to-house visits to educate (sensitize) community members.

In Kongbora chiefdom, Moyamba district, Peace mothers sensitized communities on safety methods and encouraged members to abide by the rules and bye laws of the chiefdom. Not a single case was recorded till the end of the crisis. Other peace mothers in Koinadugu, Bombali and other areas also joined in that fight to save their communities.

Initially, Government supplied cakes of soap to communities but some people had the myth (conspiracy theory) that it was infected and if they use them, they would be infected too. They did not trust the Government. Pujehun and Kono Peace Mothers played major roles as they produced sanitized cakes of soap that were supplied to households for hand washing purposes. Every household received a pack of soap. They accepted it in good faith without strings attached to it.

Customised Peace Mothers soap

 

 

“We have decided to join this fight again as the disease is a pandemic in the world. We have just finished production of over a thousand cakes of sanitized soap to the supplied to households in different parts of the country” says Sia James, Peace Mother chairlady in Woama, Woafeh section in Tankoro, Kono district

In Upper Bambara chiefdom, Kailahun district, Nganyahun section Peace Mothers chairlady, Musu Kanneh, had a lot of experience in soap making. She travelled 17miles off from Pendembu, all the way to Kailahun town to offer her expertise to other Peace Mothers in soap production. Thousands of cakes of soap were produced.

 

“I know what happened in our chiefdom during the  Ebola epidemic as lots of people got infected because they lacked basic knowledge of hygiene. But through Peace Mothers campaign on safety measures we were able to cut the chain of transmission.  So this time round again Peace Mothers are determined to ensure they join the fight against corona virus.” Madam Kanneh stressed

Princess Gbonda, Peace Mothers chairlady in Kpanga Krim, Pujehun district explained that they played different roles during the Ebola crisis.

“ Pemagbe section here in Kpanga Krim chiefdom and Lower Pember in Malen chiefdom produced thousands of cakes of soap that were supplied to communities across the country.  This was achieved through the donation of local soap making machines from Fambul Tok,” she emphasized. She continued, “ We are determined to join the fight against corona disease as we did the last time to help with good hand washing practices”.

A Peace Mother inspects finished products

“The entire world should learn from peace mothers especially the role they played in sensitizing communities on safe hand washing and other hygiene practices that helped thousands of community members not to contract the Ebola virus and now the corona pandemic too”, Gbonda emphasized.

 

Fambul Tok Kailahun team lead, Lucia Brima said that Peace Mothers in different sections will be charged with the responsibility of sensitizing their communities  to protect themselves from getting the corona virus through simple hand washing techniques.  Hand washing and other precautionary measures will help community members  avoid the disease.

Madam Lucia Brima cautioned that people should visit health facilities if they are sick and frowned at self-medication or the use of traditional medicines

Meanwhile Fambul Tok Kailahun team has donated packages of soap to the Kailahun District Health Emergency Team to help fight the corona disease.

Posted in From the Ground: Program Updates from Sierra Leone, Kailahun District, Kono District, Organization, Peace Mothers, Pujehun District | Tagged | Leave a comment