Today in Koinadugu,Peace Mother head,Hawa Conteh,explained “we are crossing rivers and treacherous bridges in order to reach our compatriots in remote areas because we believe in the cause of the peace mothers. Accompanied by colleagues from Fambul Tok and with their material support we can change the lives of our women,who happen to live in one of the districts with the worst statistics in the country especially for women’s empowerment”
The 2020 elections were laced with incidents that trampled the rights of women-especially rural women.In addition the elections resulted in some community leaders switching roles and taking up political appointments.The women too- got affected. Some were so much empowered that they braved it up and succeeded in winning elective offices as local councilors. So the peace mother groups realized the need to restructure in a chess game that will drop weak links and fill vacuums.
We have requested Fambul Tok to follow us as we journey through this process in all nine communities in Koinadugu, she explained to Fambul Tok.The two objectives they set themselves are: to restructure and train peace mother groups at sectional level; and to build the capacity of peace mothers to enhance effectiveness in promoting community initiatives.The team traveled nine sections in Koinadugu district in the last month.
In one month, nine peace mother groups have been restructured and trained on their roles and responsibilities to enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of the groups in their various communities.The participants were drawn from various sections ( Kondembaia, Heremakono 1, Heremakono 11, Kaponpon, Sokuralla 1 and 11, Koinadugy 11, Fadugu Mandingo, Fadugu Limba and Fangama) in the Koinadugu district. A total of five hundred and fifteen(515) members benefited from the trainings of which four hundred and ninety seven(497) are women and eighteen (18) are men – which include section chiefs, town chiefs, youth leaders and other key personalities providing support to the women.The meetings were educative and interactive and most participants were able to express themselves and discuss burning issues affecting them in their communities. In discussing the way forward participants were able to develop their activity plans for 2020 farming calendar as most group members are engaged in farming activities
During the restructuring and training process the team delivered topics in promoting community development; roles and responsibilities; and improving work relationship between peace mothers and community stakeholders. The women displayed increased knowledge about the topics.
In interactive sessions, the women identified the issues that are undermining peace and development in the communities, such as lack of access to land and conflict between farmers and cattle herders and; some community men are not supporting women initiatives, with the underlining fear of losing total control(power).
The peace mothers believe after almost a decade of operations in parts of Koinadugu they have learnt several lessons. Among them are if you allow community women to identify their community needs, they will find local solution to solve them.
“We want to strengthen our work in the community and as peace mothers we believe that massive sensitization on the rights of women referencing the three gender laws and the newly enacted sexual offenses Act 2019 are pivotal”, said Mbalia Koroma, former acting section chief of Heremakono in Wara Wara Yagala chiefdom.