The Sierra Leone Market Women’s Association (SLMWA) on Monday launched the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) handbook at the British Council hall, Tower Hill in Freetown, with the support from the Justice Sector Development Programme (JSDP).
ADR refers to the availability of mechanisms outside of the more formalized state structures that have been established to dispense justice.
“The JSDP recognizes the importance of ADR mechanisms to the majority of the population in Sierra Leone as a system that can provide access to affordable, speedy and fair resolution to disputes,” a JSDP media release states.
The release continues, “JSDP therefore commissioned a study of the SLMWA, which revealed that most market women turn to the executive members of their association for mediation on certain issues and this system could be adapted to be more responsive to human rights standards. Subsequently, an information, education, and communication handbook was developed, with the active participation of SLMWA, to serve as a guide in their dispute settlement.”
On February 22 this year, “a validation exercise, and training of trainers’ workshop was concluded for SLMWA, on the content and use of the ARD handbook.”
Topics covered included the SLMWA perception of justice, the nature of the disputes reported to, and mediated by, the committee appointed to settle disputes, types of disputes outside the jurisdiction of SLMWA and the complaints and summon process.”
Marie Vandy, president of the SLMWA in Sierra Leone, remarked that “this type of credit is critical to complement the justice sector reform in Sierra Leone.
Court delays and the cost of resolving disputes are reduced and the level of tension and conflict in the community is lessened.”