Children and Women Empowerment Society (CWES), Cord aid Holland in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs and Child Welfare Organizations have embarked on massive sensitization of eleven (11) communities in mostly slum areas in the Western Area. The sensitization which was centered on Children and Women’s Right issues in Sierra Leone was held at Elizabeth Street, in Kroo Town Road in Freetown.
CWES is a humanitarian and non-profit making organisation, formed in 2002, with a vision to restore the dignity of victims in deprived and marginalised communities after decades of bad governance, injustice and warfare.
The main objective of CWES is to protect and promote the rights of women and children and upgrade their standards of living, with proper understanding and knowledge of human rights values and principles; to reinforce participants’ skills to deal with realities of national, local, legal and human rights context to enhance socio-economic development.
Explaining the concept of the Organisation at a well attended sensitization meeting, the Research and Development Officer, Roy Moses said human rights are both inspirational and practical. Human rights principles hold up the vision of a free, just, and peaceful world and set minimum standards on how individuals and institutions everywhere should treat people.
He added that human rights also empower people with a framework for action on minimum standards “even if the laws or those in power do not recognize or protect them we must ensure that the rights of children and women are protected in partnership with Parents, Community Leaders, Heads of Religious and Educational Institutions, Police and Family Support unit (FSU) and stake holders”.
Technical Consultant, Rodney Lowe elaborated on the concept of their program, which includes; Orientation & Training Sessions, Human Rights Sensitisation/Education, Formation of Community Human Rights Committees, Training Workshops and Field work.
He maintained that the eleven (11) communities in the Western Area would be educated on relevant human right issues on children and women and their responsibilities as citizens to the nation. These communities include; Chin-Chin-St Elizabeth, Crab Town, Kroo Bay, Clay Ground, Gray Bush, Banana Water, Red Pump, Dwazark Farm, Kolleh Town, Bololo and King George Farm.
Chief Mathew Young, who chaired the sensitization program, implored stakeholders to respect the rights of women and children. He commended CWES for taking the lead in educating the communities referred to as slums where many rights have been violated; and encouraged stakeholders to be ambassadors of human rights and development in their respective communities.
The Founder and Executive Director of CWES, Franklyn Holist expressed gratitude to Government, Cord aid Holland , Community Elders and development partners for making the project a success; and appealed to beneficiaries to make good use of the information and replicate it to their respective communities for proper understanding of human rights related issues. The Children and Women’s Affairs Coordinator at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Francis Lahai reiterated Government’s commitment in reducing the abuse of children and women’s rights; highlighting the Children and Gender Bill which was recently passed in Parliament. A drama skit on human rights abuse particularly on child labour and forceful initiation into secret societies climaxed the sensitisation program