Fambul Tok Peace Mothers,equipped with communication skills and clear understanding of peace messages were able to convince community members to see reason not to engage in any form of violence before and even after the pronouncement of results.
Havinggone through vigorous training on various topics relating to peace building and to ensure Sierra Leone’s 2018 elections are violence free,Peace Mothers played major roles during the first phase of the country’s multitier elections.
With support from USAID,through the Reacting to Early Warning and Response Data(REWARD) project in Bombali,Kailahun,Kono and Pujehun districts,Peace Mothers embarked on varius community engagement activities such as chiefdom meetings,convening youths,women folks and traditional leadrs to talk on preventing violence before and after elections
In Pujehun for instance,Peace Mothers in Pessekeh section,Kpanga chiefdom were helping to control people in the queues and encouraged restless voters to be patient.They also assist the aged to reach voting centres
In Tankoro chiefdom,Kono district,Peace Mothers in thier pre election messages preached non violence and their presence was felt at most centres in the chiefdom on election day,talking to people to remain calm.They did similar work in Gbense,Nimiyama and Goramac chiefdoms
‘Instead of organizations wasting money unnecessarily on failed projects during electioneering periods,they should focus to ensure peace and stability in communities through such project.This USAID’s REWARD project has created impacts in our communities more than anyother project in Kono district’…says Kathy Changa,peace mother in Faada,Gbense chiefdom
In Bombali,both Community Welfare and Mediation Committee members in collaboration with peace mothers worked together on various activities.In Bombali Shebora chiedom women went out very early on election day calling on voters to be peaceful.They encouraged those in queues to allow disabled,aged,pregnant women and suckling mothers to vote first and not stand in the long queues for long.These categories of people were allowed without problems.Other chiefdoms including Paki Masabong,Makari Gbanti and Biriwa also played significant roles in the electioneering process.
Also in Kailahun district,Peace mothers and CWMCs in Upper Bambara,Njaluahun,Luawa and Kissi Teng stirred the reins in mobilising communities to remain peaceful in a district that had long been identified as hot spot during election time.
Other chiefdoms in Fambul Tok operational Districts,who were not part of REWARD project played lead roles in the electioneering process by also working with community structures such as peace mothers and CWMCs.The chiefdoms are Fakunya and Dasse in Moyamba district, Delmandugu in Falaba district and Kasunko in Koinadugu
Generallly,there were no reports of major incidents on election day in any of the 16 supported chiefdoms and also Moyamba,Falaba and Koinaduugu districts