The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Democracy Sierra Leone (DSL) have trained some sixty men and women all over the country on conflict mitigation and promoting non- violence for the 2007 National Elections.
The training of trainers on conflict and mitigation attracted people with disability, the blind, teachers, Journalists and also drew participants from both Government and non governmental institutions.
In his statement National Coordinator of DSL Sirajin Rollings Kamara said that DSL was organized and formed as an independent nationally based indigenous local voluntary, non governmental, non political advocacy and development organization, working to promote good governance, and behave as ambassadors of peace for the well being of Sierra Leone.
He added that the aim of his organization is to support the holding of free, fair, credible and non- violent elections; to initiate and implement strategies for the strengthening of democracy; to raise the awareness of grassroots participation in the democratic process; to participate in conflict resolutions and to sensitize grassroots and the marginalized about democratic values.
Giving the achievements of DSL the National Coordinator said that the All Peoples’ Congress (APC) party case in the high court of Sierra Leone was championed by them and they debated on the proposed amendments of the constitutional review commission.
Delivering his speech Nick Demeter NDI Country Director noted that NDI works with democrats in every region of the world to build political and civic organizations, safeguard elections, and promote citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.
He added that as the August 2007 Presidential and Legislative elections approach, NDI is working with civil society, political parties, the media, and other stakeholders to enhance the prospects for a transparent, peaceful, and free electoral process. Through its ongoing work with local partners and election authorities, NDI is continuing its efforts to ensure that traditionally marginalized populations, including women, youth, and disabled persons, are included in the elections process and have equal access to the political process he said.
Adding that as part of its efforts to enhance the capacity of local Civil Society Organizations and support the elections process, NDI is partnering with Sierra Leonean organizations to conduct voter education campaigns.
The Institute is providing technical assistance to local organizations as they conduct voter education campaigns, and facilitate regular communication and information-sharing between local organisations and election authorities.
Historically he said, disabled persons have participated in the political process in very low numbers, partly due to a lack of civic education and awareness.
In the run-up to the 2007 elections, NDI is partnering with disabled persons’ organizations as they conduct voter education campaigns.
In addition, NDI is facilitating frequent, substantive communication between disabled persons’ organizations and Sierra Leonean election authorities..
As the second set of national elections since the signing of the Lomé Peace Accord that ended Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war, NDI is incorporating peace-building and conflict prevention programming into its work with political parties and civil society organizations (CSOs).