The project Initiative for Democratic and Peaceful Elections in Sierra Leone, is implemented by the University of Makeni in Partnership with Rondine International Peace Lab and Rondine Cittadella della Pace. The of the project is the promotion of peaceful and informed election process as well as acceptance of the results.
Since January 2017, we started with the concrete activities towards the implementation of the project. After a feasibility study of the project, the first action was preparing 12 trainers representing all the areas of Sierra Leone to work together on training the community leaders. Second step was, training 360 community leaders (training implemented by the 12 trainers) on topics such as Democracy, Social Responsibility, Common Good and Reconciliation, so that they are ready to act in their communities.
Except of the training activities, we held 4 roundtables with universities, involvig 400 student participants in total. Moreover, through radio, social media, newspapers, brochures, and face to face communication we implemented a large scale awareness raising campaign.
We are currently working on publishing a project guide of good practices, and organizing a closing event where we will share our work with other national and international organizations as well as institutions.
As for the project results, we have evaluated to be the following:
1. The capacities of leaders on advocating democracy, leadership, good governance, political participation and peacebuilding have increased;
2. The attitude of citizens in democracy and election process is more positive
3. Dialogue, understanding, and acceptance between supporters of different parties and citizens coming from different tribe has increased and there is an increase in the acceptance of the election results
4. Citizens access to knowledge resources and networks is increased and the project results are disseminated and impact the policymakers
Finaly, why is our project different from other innitiatives on the field?
First, our strategy was to reach the population even in the very periphery areas, which was a challenge raised by the organizations that have been working in the field. We achieved it using media channels as well as reaching the citizens through the trained leaders. We made sure to select leaders that represent a very different range of communities.
Second, our trainings were held by trainers that represented different tribes. For example, two trainers representing two different tribes would hold a two day training to the leaders, who despite getting professional information would witness the real life example of working together for a better Sierra Leone.