In a bid to empower women in governance and protect their rights, the Center for Human Rights and Development in Sierra Leone (CHRD) has commenced a series of consultations and pilot training on developing a training manual on women’s rights in Sierra Leone, with funds from Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
The vision of the pilot project is to create a society that is characterized by enlightened people on human rights issues with the concurrent ability to be part of the rule of law, governance and development through empowerment of the poor people; by publishing a training manual on women’s rights in the Country.
The consultative forum attracted Women’s Groups, Civil Society and Human Rights Organizations, to create a resource tool for non-legal advocates on women’s rights promotion and protection at the Santanno House, Howe Street in Freetown.
Hanatu Kabbah, CHRD Director gave a historical background of the organization and an overview of the pilot project which includes, legal advocacy; capacity building; research and publication; child rights program; transitional justice programme and development strategies and targets.
She noted that her mission advocates for the realization of human rights and development through empowerment of people especially the poor and marginalized; by providing access to information, defending rights and building capacity using the tools of legal advocacy and litigation to ensure the effective participation of women.
She expressed gratitude to the Gender Ministry, Lawyers, officials of the Family Support Unit and various representatives from the Provinces. Participants at the consultative forum gave credence to the written manual and also provided valuable insights into issues affecting women.
The Director encouraged women to support the training manual for its fullest implementation and also stressed the need to involve Traditional and Religious Leaders as agents of change in women’s rights issues and appealed for equal opportunities especially in the area of education.
Edi Kpandema of the Women’s Forum Sierra Leone expressed gratitude to the organizers of the forum; and pledged her support to the training manual for sustainable development and the empowerment of women for participation in governance and decision-making process.
Barrister Melinda Davis of the Lawyers Forum on Women, promised to support the training manual with technical and legal expertise for the promotion of women rights in the Country, to enable them contribute meaningfully to national development for the benefit of both rural and urban women.
Iyesha Bangura, of the Family Support Unit of the Sierra Leone Police highlighted the progress and challenges made in promoting and protecting women’s rights in the Country, adding that women need empowerment and support.
By Saidu Bah