Human Rights Awareness Raising on selected topics
The Youth Movement for Peace and Non Violence conducted a project aiming at promoting human rights and non violence issues. A series of human rights awareness’ raising campaigns were organized in several regions of Sierra Leone. Activities carried out in Pujehun region, Moyamba, Kono, Kailahun and Porto Loko included: display of posters on human rights in strategic places of cities, organization of seminars with lectures on topics such as: knowing your rights and responsibilities, developing human rights advocacy skills, assessing respect of human rights in the community; HIV/AIDS and human rights, violence against women, arbitrary arrest and torture. Intensive sensitization exercices on human rights were organized in cooperation with local associations. Workshops addressed the following topics: rights, duties and responsibilities of citizens, causes of conflict, methods of reporting, investigating and documenting on human rights violations; culture of peace and non violence. At the end of the project, the organization recommended the continuation of sensitization campaigns in every part of the country with an emphasis on women empowerment and improvement of children well-being. Recommendations were also made to: organize periodically human rights education campaigns to further spread human rights awareness; to support educators with necessary logistics and human rights handouts and materials; to carry out recreational facilities in schools so as to enhance mutual interaction among pupils and educate them in a culture of peace and non violence.
Women’s rights, Violence Against Women and Reproductive Rights
Women’s Forum conducted a project aiming at raising people awareness on violence against women. The organization conducted several meetings with communities in the country. It also organized a one-day workshop in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone which addressed issues on domestic violence and its causes and consequences. Participants also discussed actions to be taken in order to assist victims and perpetrators to overcome the trauma resulting from acts of violence occurring among family members. Sexual abuses, wife battering, early and forced marriage were considered as one of the most widespread violence inflicted to women and girls. During the workshop, the organization developed and produced awareness raising materials (such as posters, slogans on stickers) and distributed them to participants. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants agreed that the culture of silence on domestic violence was responsible for the dramatic increase of such acts. They also considered that efforts should be made to educate men on women and children’s rights and on the importance of maintaining relationship based on mutual respect. Jingles on women’s rights were aired in radio stations.
Human Rights Education in the School System
In Sierra Leone , University of Sierra Leoneorganized a one-day workshop aiming at mainstreaming human rights education into peace and conflict studies curriculum. In particular, the workshop sought to: identify resources for the provision of human rights education and training; increase the knowledge of participants on basic human rights concepts; facilitate the exchange and the sharing of experiences in the field of human rights training and education; provide a forum for the exchange and sharing of information concerning country specific situations; further promote human rights networking at local and international level. Approximately 120 participants attended the workshop which brought together representatives of human rights organizations, civil society organizations, lecturers, researchers, practitioners and students of university. During the discussions, participants identified and developed methodologies for educating in human rights. As an outcome of the workshop, draft modules were produced and finalized through consultations and inputs provided by experts.
United for the Protection of Human Rights, an organization based in Sierra Leone, conducted two sensitizations seminars on children’s rights. Issues addressed during the workshop included: prevention of child rights abuse, neglect and exploitation of children within the community. The seminars brought together teachers union, police officers, local authorities (chiefs), women’s group and ex-combatants (adults and children). One inter-secondary schools quiz and arts competition was also held. Questions for the quiz and arts competition were based on the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Prizes for the competition ranged from wall-clocks, teaching and writing materials to one year tuition fee to the best student in the quiz. The organization also produced a human rights booklet in the Themne language. The booklet is intended to enhance the understanding of human rights issues. 600 copies were distributed to schools and communities within Porto Loko and Kambia districts.