Peace Mothers play vital roles in Sierra Leone’s 2018 elections

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March 29, 2018 By Solomon Yarjoh

fambul

Fambul Tok Peace Mothers, equipped with communication skills and clear understanding of peaceful messages were able to convince community members to see reason not to engage in any form of violence before and even after the pronouncement of results.

Having gone through elaborate training on various topics relating to peace building and to ensure Sierra Leone’s 2018 elections are violence free, Peace Mothers in project supported districts played major roles during the first phase of the country’s multitier elections.

With support from USAID, through the REWARD project in Bombali, Kailahun, Kono and Pujehun districts, the women embarked on various community engagements activities, including chiefdom and sectional meetings, convening youths, women folks and traditional leaders to talk on preventing violence before and after the elections.

In Pujehun, Peace Mothers in Pessekeh Section, Kpanga chiefdom, helped control people in queues and encouraged restless voters to be patient. They also assisted the aged to reach voting centres.

In Tankoro chiefdom, Kono district, Peace Mothers in their pre-election messages preached non violence and their presence was felt at some centres in the chiefdom on Election Day as they talked to people to remain calm. They did similar work in Gbense, Nimiyama and Gorama chiefdoms.

‘Instead of   organisations wasting money unnecessarily on failed projects during this period, they should focus on ensuring peace and stability in communities. This USAID REWARD project has created impacts in our communities more than any other project in Kono District,’ says Kathy Changa, Peace Mother in Faada, Gbense chiefdom

In Bombali, both Community Welfare and Mediation Committee (CWMC) members, in collaboration with Peace Mothers, worked together on various activities. In Bombali Shebora chiefdom, the women went out very early in the morning on Election Day calling on voters to be peaceful. They encouraged those in queues to allow the disabled, aged, pregnant and suckling mothers to vote first and not to stand in long queues for too long. Other chiefdoms, including Paki Masabong, Makari Gbanti and Biriwa also designed activities for polling day.

Peace Mothers and CWMC in Kailahun district, especially in Upper Bambara, Njaluahun, Luawa and Kissi Teng mobilised communities to remain peaceful in a district identified as elections hot spot.

Meanwhile, as the presidential run-off scheduled for March 31 approaches, Peace Mothers and CWMCs are in top gear to ensure that communities remain peaceful.