Rolling out in Koinadugu — beginning with consultations

Koinadugu-Village_sm

Koinadugu District (in the north of Sierra Leone) is in the initial phase of the rollout of the Fambul Tok program — community consultation. Before we initiate any Fambul Tok activity, we broadly consult the people and ask them if they want us to facilitate the program in their respective communities. We are rooted in the consultative process — we do not go into a community and impose our program on them. Consultation creates the space for local ownership.

Koinadugu-drumming_sm

In mid January, staff from the FTI corporate headquarters office in Portland, ME (USA) — FTI President Libby Hoffman, and Director of Finance, Tammy Mazza — accompanied the Koinadugu district staff and national support staff to several communities in Koinadugu. The first community we visited, Koinadugu Village (same name as the district), was surprised but delighted with the Fambul Tok concept. Many elders and representatives expressed gratitude for the program and for its approach. They welcomed us with traditional dances, songs, and Woronanie (the giving of four kola nuts in water to visitors — it’s a sign of appreciation). Koinadugu Village was severely affected during the war, as were most communities in the district. It was a base for RUF, government, and eventually the junta. The atrocities that occurred in the village are unimaginable. The community is really looking forward to the implementation of the program. They expressed a strong desire to reconcile with each other and to come together as a family again, and an excitement about reviving their culture and traditions in support of that process.

Mobile-Restaurant_smThe second community we visited, Firarawa village, presented a slightly different experience. Although they expressed interest in Fambul Tok, they also clearly had some misconceptions about our approach.  They were used to handouts from the international community, and it was obvious they had an initial expectation that the Fambul Tok program would work along those lines.  The team worked hard to explain the Fambul Tok values and approach and to emphasize the importance of community ownership and full participation.

When you consult with people and communities, you will learn a lot about their needs and in return help build confidence in their abilities. The two visits were a great contrast for the team on the challenges of reconciling communities. It takes time if the need is to change the mindset of people, but this is simply one other sign of the reality that reconciliation is a process!



About Robert Roche

Robert Roche is a Field Program Officer for Fambul Tok International.
This entry was posted in From the Ground: Program Updates from Sierra Leone, Koinadugu District and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rolling out in Koinadugu — beginning with consultations

  1. Jon Lunn says:

    Hi Robert and the Koinadugu team,

    Thanks for your update on the consultation phase. Sorry I could’nt come along on the trip that Libby and Tammy made – as you know, I had to return to the UK. Things don’t always go perfectly (in fact, they rarely do) but I am sure that the work that you are all putting in now in preparing the ground will bear wonderful fruit in Koinadugu with time. I’m with you in spirit. Pass on my best wishes to everybody and keep us posted on how things are going.

    Jon Lunn
    [FTI board member]

  2. Betty James says:

    Am a Sierra Leonean living in Australia.I’m attuned to reading your website.I love the wonderful stories written by your blogger.Fambul Tok is doing the incomplete work of the TRC.Pls you have to extend to other regions.Kuu she(thank you).

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