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PCs, MPs hail ‘Fambul Tok’ peace effort 

November 14, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Paramount Chiefs, Members of Parliament and Local Council Chairmen from Kailahun, Koinadugu and Moyamba districts have hailed Fambul Tok International for their role in restoring and maintaining peace in their respective chiefdoms and districts.

During a three-day Inclusive district Peace and Development Committee Inter-District Learning and Sharing conference hosted at Taia Resort Centre Hall in Moyamba, Paramount Chief Alimany Jalloh of Neini Chiefdom, Koinadugu District, stated that the intervention of Fambul Tok was timely.

According to him, after the eleven years war, which claimed the lives of thousands and destroyed billion worth of properties, people in many communities across the country were not at peace because they were not given chance to be heard.

“We are happy that through the intervention of Fambul Tok, everything has been laid to rest. We have succeeded in settling major conflicts between individuals and communities in my district,” he stated.

He noted that through inclusive work with his subjects and other key stakeholders in the district, they embarked on several developmental activities, citing the building of bridges that link his chiefdom to major roads.

Also, Founder and Executive Director of Fambul Tok International, John Caulker, explained that the objective of the conference was to create space for inter-district learning, as well as strengthen the District Peace and Development Committees (IDPDC).

He said the conference also aimed at exploring the roles of IDPDCs in the districts, going forward, provide an overview of the People’s Planning Progress (PPP) and gain understanding of the core elements of IDPDC formation for new and potential partners.

According to him, even though many initiatives, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), were launched with the aim of reconciling affected communities and people, certain things were left out because some people were not given the opportunity to be heard.

“Fambul Tok emerged in Sierra Leone as a face-to-face community-owned programme, bringing together perpetrators and victims of the violence in the country’s civil war through ceremonies rooted in the local traditions of war-torn villages,” he said, and added that their intervention provided Sierra Leoneans with an opportunity to come to terms with what happened during the war.

He continued that Fambul Tok was built upon Sierra Leone’s “family talk” tradition of discussing and resolving issues within the security of a family circle.

Mr. Caulker maintained that the programme works at the village level to help communities organise ceremonies that include truth-telling bonfires and traditional cleansing ceremonies, and that through drawing on age-old traditions of confession, apology and forgiveness, they have succeeded in reviving Sierra Leoneans’ rightful pride in their culture.

“We are presently operating in 250 communities in six districts and we are working hard to see how we can reach all the districts in the country.  We created the space for the women as demanded,” he added.

Delivering the keynote address, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Maya Kaikai, thanked Catalyst for Peace and Fambul Tok International for their effort in promoting governance at the local level.

He said his ministry would always stand ready to support such initiatives, especially when it geared towards promoting the welfare of the people and putting them in charge of their own destiny.

He expressed appreciation, on behalf of the government, for the support of Catalyst for Peace and Fambul Tok during the struggle to defeat the Ebola virus disease in the country, adding that their contribution in mobilising and engaging communities as part of their effort to tackle the virus was very important.

“The government attaches tremendous importance to issues of inclusion and decentralised governance and today, we can boast of having implemented a decentralisation programme underpinned by the need to open up the political space, take development to the doorsteps of the local people, and improve transparency and accountability in governance,” he stated.

Minister Kaikai called on those present to bear in mind that inclusion was a fundamental pre-requisite for the country’s repaid development, and that as a ministry responsible for local government and rural development, they have made and continue to make frantic effort towards promoting inclusiveness with the view to accelerating the nation’s development.

Meanwhile, during the conference, delegates from Koinadugu, Kailahun and Moyamba districts presented their formation process, activities, successes and challenges of their IDPDC.

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