Local Legislation and Capacity Building Workshop on UNSCR 1325 and 1820; June 23 – 25, 2012

Local Legislation and Capacity Building Workshop on UNSCR 1325 and 1820; June 23 – 25, 2012

Sahara Hotel, Bo, Sierra Leone 

By Selamawit Tesfaye

The second workshop for GNWP’s Local Legislation Capacity Building project took place in Bo, the second largest district in Sierra Leone. Bo prides itself as being the cleanest district in Sierra Leone and even enforces a mandatory cleaning day the last Saturday of each month. And truly the streets and highways in the district are very clean especially when compared to Freetown and Kenema.

Just like the workshop in Kenema, the participants to the workshop comprised of Councilors, Paramount Chiefs, members of the Decentralization Secretariat, Civil Society representatives, Family Support Unit, Office of National Security, representatives from the Mayor’s office.

At the opening of the workshop, one of the 14 Woman Paramount Chiefs out of the overall 149 in Sierra Leone, Ms. Ruth Tutu Fawundu-Songa called on women to support one another. She recited her own campaign experience in which her main opposition was women of the community. Following her statement, Rebecca S. ArunaActing Mayor of Bonthe District officially opened the session by intoning “More Women! Better Politics!” from the way most of the participants joined her apparently a very famous slogan in the community. She encouraged women to participate in the coming elections in November. She also called for the end of violence against women which often hinders women from full and active participation in decision making processes.

In their presentation on their understanding of good governance, the councils gave a context of the situation in their respective administrative structures. Here, the presentations were very interesting as the participants were open and gave a full critic of what actually happens on the ground. They were open in criticizing each other and also identifying their weaknesses.

The councils also drafted their action plans on what they plan to do after the workshop in terms of implementation of the SiLNAP by integrating it into their CDPs and identifying possible activities that could be translated into by-laws. In giving their commitments afterwards, all of the participants pledged to create awareness of the UNSCR resolutions 1325 and 1820 as well as the implementation of the SiLNAP.

Lastly, the workshop was concluded with a traditional ritual by one of the Paramount Cheifs who blessed all the partcipants in their future endeavors and wished the best of luck for Gladys Gbappy Brima, founder and coordinator of GNWP member Women’s Partnership of Justice and Peace, who is running for a seat in the upcoming elections in November.