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MARWOPNET Ends Stakeholders Training of Peace Ambassadors

HomeNewsMARWOPNET Ends Stakeholders Training of Peace Ambassadors

MARWOPNET Ends Stakeholders Training of Peace Ambassadors

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The Mano River Women Peace Network (Sierra Leone) Chapter with support from UNWOMEN and Irish Aid is implementing a project on ‘Empowering Commitment to the Women Peace and Agenda Through Stakeholder Meetings, Training of new Peace Ambassadors and Monitoring of One Stop Centers in Four Districts -Moyamba, MattruJong, Port Loko and Tonkolili’ in April 2022.

The project is titled “Enhancing Commitments to Women, Peace and Security in four districts through training of new Peace Ambassadors leaving no one behind including youth (males and females) and women living with disabilities.  

The broad goal of the project is to establish linkages between the women, peace and security agenda and protection issues in sexual and gender based violence.  

The project aims to  promote  interaction with stakeholders in the respective districts prior to the training of Community Peace Ambassadors in order to ensuring their commitment to the advocacy on the women, peace and security agenda which seeks to give voice to women, strengthen their agency and help them to articulate their concerns and exercise their rights to participate in the decision-making positions, minimize gender-based  violence, promote gender equality through revisiting customs and traditions so that women are given the space  to make their own contribution to peace building, conflict resolution and peacekeeping. 

The goal of the project is to establish linkages between the Women Peace and Security Agenda and protection issues in Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) more specifically the project aims to interact with stakeholders in the respective districts prior to the training of Peace Ambassadors.

So far, MARWOPNET has held two stakeholders’ meetings to engage opinion leaders in the respective districts.
At each stakeholder meeting introductory remarks were made by the MARWOPNET representative followed by statements by key stakeholders in the district. This is followed by a dialogue session on the situation of SGBV in the district and the recommendations and suggestion to mitigate it.

Various categories of stakeholders such as the Paramount Chiefs, Members of Parliament, District Council staff, representatives of the Ministries of Gender and Children’s Affairs and Social Welfare respectively, the Office of National Security and the Center Manager of One Stop Center (Port Loko District) attended the meetings.

The stakeholders’ meeting in Tonkolili district was held on 6th April 2022 at the Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma Resource Center in Magburakawhile the one in Port Loko was held on 11th April 2022 at the Pastoral Centre.

At the Tonkolili stakeholders’ meeting, Mrs. Rosaline Mcarthy, the National Focal Person of MARWOPNET SL and Lead Facilitator gave a brief background about the Mano River Women Peace Network which is a sub-regional women peace founded in Abuja, Nigeria in May 2000 to advocate for peace with the Heads of States of the Mano River Union countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia .underscoring that their primary role is peace building at all levels during the war and even in peace time.  MARWOPNET is committed to implementing the women, Peace and Security Agenda on a continuing basis. 

The Network received the prestigious UN Human Rights Award in 2003.

She also observed that even though the war has ended in the country there are still issues threatening the peace in communities; drug abuse,  lawlessness, unequal representation of women in the politics and the decision-making process.

The Women, Peace and Security Agenda seeks to address this agenda so that we can have a more peaceful environment for a better quality of life for everyone.

She noted that the women need to be supported to articulate their concerns and participate more effectively in public life. 

MARWOPNET has trained Peace Ambassadors in six districts and has also trained women for more meaningful participation in political life in Sierra Leone.

MARWOPNET also operates a Peace Radio (FM88.4) in Gbalamuya, Kambia district.

In conclusion, Mrs. Mcarthy made reference to the existence of One Stop Centers in six districts including Port Loko, Moyamba and MattruJong which provide holistic services to victims of SGBV (police, legal, medical and psychosocial).

After her introductory statement, key stakeholders were invited to make statements.

In Tonkolili District, the representative of the Paramount Chief pointed out that this is the first of such training in the district, affirmed that women are important in society, that unlike in the past, they are now electing women Section Chiefs in the North of the country, which is a stepping stop to be elected as a Paramount Chief and appealed for sensitization to be extended to the other 18 chiefdoms in the district.

The representative of the Member of Parliament disclosed that feminist movements started in the 19th century when women started advocating for voting rights and education, followed by property rights and called on men to advocate for women’s rights.

The Gender Desk Officer, Tonkolili District Council, Allieu Sesayrevealed that gender-based violence is on the increase in the district and stressed the need for all stakeholders to put their resources together to address the menace.

Hosaintu Moriba from the Ministry of Social Welfare assured that they would monitor and supervise SGBV cases for which she called for community support, pointed out that 95 of players in the sector are NGOs but that they are not aware of some of their operations as the Ministry is marginalized and appealed to participants to widely disseminate the knowledge gained at the training.  

The Line Manager, Family Support Unit, Magburaka Police Station revealed that they are receiving a lot of rape reports, domestic and SGBV cases, that there is no One Stop Center in the District and that some parents and other stakeholders intervene for out of court settlement of SGBV cases.

She also lamented the non-availability of a motorbike or vehicle to facilitate their work and appealed for support.

The Office of National Security representative said that a new Gender Department was recently created, that sexual harassment is no longer fashionable in offices and communities, that only enforcement and empowerment can bring change, urged all to stand up against wrongs in society, that there is no safe home for SGBV victims as well as police cells for child offenders and the non-availability of a doctor’s examination fees that is a serious challenge.

The District Health Management Team representative said the relationship with other stakeholders in very cordial and informed that it is the responsibility of the Medical Superintendent to send his report to the police, that the NGO, MSF is now responsible to examine victims of physical and other assault cases and that some parents compromise SGBV cases.

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