As part of strengthening women in Soa chiefdom, Kono district, Fambul Tok has identified women in all sections and started training programs as ambassadors in their communities. The objective of the training sessions is to address grievance / conflict issues in their communities, promote peace-building, and monitor locally to identify early warning signs. The women after the trainings will also transfer these skills to other members and promote Sustainable Development Goals in their various communities. The training is part of the Human Security Project supported by UNDP and FAO Sierra Leone.
The training topics range from gender equality, gender mainstreaming, empowerment; communication skills; and peace building approaches. The training of the women peace ambassadors was held in Sukudu village, Sawafiama section.
In her welcome address, chiefdom women’s leader Haja Fatmata Yarjah said women play very important roles in the development of any community. She disclosed that women in Soa chiefdom have not been left out by chiefdom administration, but added, they should be included in various activities. She said the chiefdom is faced with lots of challenges, one of which has link with the deplorable road networks.
She encouraged participants to take the training session very serious, admonishing them, to convey whatever skills they will learn to other community members in various sections.
Emphasizing on the importance of offering such sessions to women, Lilian Morsay, Fambul Tok Peace Mothers Coordinator said women need to take the lead in peace building approach to ensure communities remain peaceful.
She said women are faced with several problems, and added that, training them to be ambassadors will help promote peace, unity and stability in their communities and contribute to the socio-economic development of their communities and the nation as a whole.
Fambul Tok Lucinda Kelley said women should participate in locally led mechanisms for addressing grievances and platforms for inclusive decision-making. She said women in Kailahun, Pujehun and Moyamba are making progress for the fact they are now walking together.
She said that promoting and facilitating mediation through dialogue activities and truth telling among conflicting parties at grassroots level, will enable conflict transformation and sustainable peace using traditional approaches involving respected community members and leaders. It will also provide necessary support for the empowerment of women to establish non-violent forms of conflict resolution at community level. She said rural women should be involved in conflict resolution, mediation and reconciliation especially in post-election era so that they can also contribute to peace and help raise development priorities.
One of the sectional women’s leaders, Finda Jabba, explained that after the 2018 general elections women faced challenges as some women were accused of not voting for preferred candidates. She hailed the training and said as they now know their rights and responsibilities to participate in community programs they will continue to come out in their numbers to contribute to development aspirations in their chiefdom.
Kumba Kamanda highlighted various issues and said women are great pillars to development in communities. She encouraged them to come out of the kitchen and be involved in active engagements to resolve conflicts in the chiefdom. She said women are vulnerable but very powerful when fully engaged in most community services.
After the training, the new ambassadors formed an executive and suggested that they meet at the end of every month on rotational basis.