By Francis Ndanema
Activists and civil society organisations (CSOs) from all Action Aid operational districts across the country yesterday started a two-day “campaign mobilization” refresher training on ‘Campaign and Advocacy Techniques, Voluntary Guidelines and Land Policy Initiative’ at the Ramsy Hall in Freetown.
The training is aimed at equipping participants with the skills and knowledge needed to take up land grabbing issues seriously and campaign till the rural people – who are suffering as a result of their lands being listed by several mining companies – are given the right attention needed to empower them economically.
The campaign, according to the Communications and Campaigns Coordinator, Action Aid Sierra Leone, Aruna Kamara, will be officially launched one month from now. He urged participants to treat the training with all the seriousness it deserves so that they could help the poor whose lands have been grabbed or do not have access to land.
Mr. Kamara informed participants that there are several mining companies that have occupied 25% of the total land in the country, and that as an organization that believes people should enjoy their rights, “we want to challenge all of you here today to help end the suffering of our people”.
He pointed out that owners of land are usually not involved in negotiations for their property, as government and the chiefs – who most times negotiate on behalf of the people – do so in their own interest instead of the people’s interest.