Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 August 2020:
The Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) and the West African Network for Peace (WANEP), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programe (UNDP) and the Government of Sierra Leone, have engaged key stakeholders on promoting peace and social cohesion in Makeni, Northern Sierra Leone, where rioting took place a few weeks ago resulting in the shooting dead of at least five young protesters by the security forces.
The town hall meeting, which was held at Makeni City Council Hall on 26th August 2020, was attended by representatives from the Makeni City Council, Sierra Leone Police, Traders Union, Youth Leaders, Civil Society groups, APPA, PPRC, RSLAF, ONS, Paramount Chief, APC, NGC, SLPP, and others.
The community engagement seeks to contribute to the reduction and mitigation of community level conflict and insecurity by investing in initiatives that address key drivers of conflict and insecurity.
Speaking about the event, Chief Executive of CHRDI, Abdul Fatoma, said his organisation has a new vision for the empowerment and engagement of youths in Sierra Leone, focusing on education as an important priority which will allow young people to develop the country.
“There are a number of youths within the security sector (army, police) who could contribute to nation building, and engage in developmental programmes like infrastructure, agriculture, teaching and vocational training” he said.
The two organisations are using an all-inclusive community security and social cohesion approach, which will empower communities to identify the drivers of conflicts in their communities in a participatory manner, using an integrated and gender sensitive approach.
It is expected that this will help support the communities to effectively prevent, manage and resolve conflict in a non-violent manner.
At the same time, the project will also strengthen community relationships by identifying and strengthening cultural, social, and economic connectors that make communities reliant on each other in times of peace and conflict, across sex and age divide.