Mwananchi Sierra Leone -
Leh wi tok
The Mwananchi programme in Sierra Leone, known locally as Leh wi tok (let us talk), envisions a country where all citizens benefit from governance irrespective of economic and social status. In such a scenario, marginalised groups such as women and youth are able to exercise their rights to be informed about official actions and to understand why decisions are made. This vision can be achieved through better interactions among governance players, which is why the programme will emphasise building relationships between civil society, media, local councils and parliamentarians. More >
New in Mwananchi Sierra Leone
This issue of the Leh Wi Tok newsletter focuses on the work of Mwananchi partner Democracy Sierra Leone (DSL). DSL has been working in Kono district for the last three years, helping to connect local marginalised people, particulary youth and women, to their political representatives.
Read the full newsletter for interviews with youth and women leaders, background on the mining industry in Kono and an introduction to the basket fund DSL hopes will enable young people to increase their skills and employment opportunities.
Seizing the Moment: Expanding Opportunities for Women and Youths as we reflect on His Excellency’s Speech to Parliament
Democracy Sierra Leone is a Mwananchi partner working on the Leh Wi Tok project in Sierra Leone. Their work focuses on enabling marginalised groups such as women and youth to reach out to those representing them, including traditional leaders, to increase accountability and dialogue.
Diamond mining is the major industry in Kono, and many of Democracy Sierra Leone's beneficiaries work or are affected by the mines. Therefore when disatisfaction with poor working conditions and insecure employment erupted into violence, in which several protesters were killed when police used live amunition to dispell the crowds, the organisation issued a press release condemnign the violence and describing the situation in Kono as a 'time bomb'. The violence took place in December 2012.
Alhaji Mohamed Warisay, coordinator for DSL, said:
"Almost 2 years ago when we started working with youth, women, Parliamentarians, council and Traditional leaders in Kono district; after our consultative sessions with key stakeholders of the district, we realized that Kono district was sitting on a Time Bomb.
- That the government should take urgent and reasonable action to bring the issue of violence between youth and mining companies to lasting solution and find ways to build the capacity of Kono youth to be able to take up full time job with the various mining companies;
- That considering the amount of wealth they are making from the district as compared to the environmental damage they are causing, mining companies must endeavor to be at peace with the district and mining
- communities through regular dialogue and transparency;
- The reaction of the police must be seen to be professional and community policing oriented rather than
- brutality. We condemn their reaction of the incident in the strongest possible terms;
- That it is the rights of citizens to demonstrate peacefully where they feel aggrieved in certain issues but to disarm state security forces or engaging in violent demonstrations is equally, seriously condemnable;
A dialogue meeting organised by the Campaign for Good Governance, the Mwananchi partner in Sierra Leone, on the impact of Sierra Rutile Mining on local communities was reported in the Sierra Leoneon media.
The dialogue was intended to draw out the impact of the mining company's activities on women in the surrounding area, who report loss of land, pollution of drinking water, health issues and loss of security.
Several Leh Wi Tok projects work on empowering citizens to engage with mining companies and their elected representatives to ensure benefits are shared and livelihoods not adversely impact by the mines. Read about some of them here.
Mwananchi Sierra Leone is pleased to present its Annual Report for 2011-2012. The report reviews the main activities and achievements during the year, and learning from the programme and some of the innovative projects that are funded.
The annual report also includes several stories of change about emerging impact from Mwananchi's interventions to strengthen voice and accountability in Sierra Leone, including:
- All party women's political solidarity groups, assisting women candidates regardless of political party to stand for local elections and raising awareness of political marginalisation of women.
- Basket fund set up for youth in Kono district, to foster economic empowerment and give young people the skills they need to compete for jobs with mining companies