Who We Are...
A World where Every Voice Counts, where Men and Women have Equitable Opportunities.
Our Main Focus
Primary Prevention of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)
We’re living in a patriarchal world – inequality promoted by traditional gender roles influences all spheres of life. In Sierra Leone an estimated 62 percent of women age 15–49 report having experienced physical or sexual violence. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was feared that the rates of SGBV, which were already unacceptably high would be exacerbated. Sixty one percent of ever-married women age 15-49 have experienced spousal violence whether physical, sexual or emotional by their husband or partner. (SLDHS, 2019)
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 – Gender Equality:
While we are proud to see Sierra Leone leading in West Africa with 30% of parliamentary seats held by female Members of Parliament following the latest general elections in June 2023, we recognize that there is still a significant journey ahead. We are pleased with this achievement, yet there is still a long way to go…
…Gender Inequality rank 162
…Gender Development Index rank 155
…the maternal mortality ratio is 447 death out of 100,000 (World Bank)
…Female General Mutilation/Cutting: 86.1% (Unicef)
…Lifetime Physical and/or Sexual Intimate Partner Violence: 53 % (Sierra Leone DHS Report)
…Child Marriage: 29.6 % (Unicef)
All that shows clearly that we have to take action now and need to drive the process forward!
“Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economies and benefit societies and human at large.” (UN)
Men and boys, majority being drivers of violence against women and girls in societies the world over, may not know that violence – be it in homes, institutions, workplaces or communities – is an affront to transformative masculinity. Therefore, these same men and boys who play a role as fathers, sons, uncles, cousins, boyfriends, husbands, traditional and religious leaders, and respectable citizens in authority have a primary responsibility to protect their mothers, aunts, nieces, wives, daughters, girlfriends, from all types of violence including but not limited to SGBV. Engaging men and boys helps them to reflect their behavior and to start a “rethinking process” acknowledging that women and girls, just like men and boys, have rights to enjoy their fundamental, civic and democratic rights and opportunities as citizens in society.
The process of engaging and sensitizing men and boys on SGBV prevention enables them to unlock and unpack the aged old traditional and cultural norms – which are drivers of gender inequality – and changes in this way their mindset. The perception of being a man means to be violent, aggressive, probably arrogant and the owner of women, as traditional and patriarchal systems dictate in many societies including Sierra Leone, needs to be changed for transforming into a world with equal opportunities for all gender.
Engaging men and boys in post conflict Sierra Leone helps do mental disarmament from harmful traditional, political, cultural and societal orientations that provoke violence tendencies against women and girls in our society.
Promoting Gender Justice, Human Rights and Accountability through engaging communities and command structures in ending SGBV in Sierra Leone for women and girls to walk freely without fear of any violence.
- Introduce community members to the concept of gender and mobilize the participants to promote, sustain and consolidate peace, gender equality and women’s rights in their respective communities.
- Enlighten and educate community member on human rights, violence against women and girls, the Gender Acts and Sexual Offensive Acts of Sierra Leone, and global Human Rights.
- Provide participants with skills and strategies to be agents for Peace and Human Rights within their communities. So, they’re able to jointly explore and discuss with their community the role of men and boys as perpetrators of violence against women and girls; to identify possible causes of their behavior and address critical issues aimed to change male attitudes and behavior.
- To help communities understand the concepts of state accountability and the appropriate actions they will take to mobilize their communities in holding state institutions and structures accountable for gender justice in Sierra Leone.
Our engagement and sensitization training are taking place in six different districts in Sierra Leone. We’re working in Moyamba, Pujehun, Kailahun, Kono, Kambia and Freetown. In order to initiate a sustainable and holistic change process, we work with the most diverse social groups of the community: Traditional Leaders, Youth, School Clubs, Women Clubs, Politicians, Public Entities and Line Ministries.
Knowing that violence is learnt, and believing that “It is easier and Cheaper to Build Up Children for the Future than to Repair Adults”, we have extended our intervention to schools in our targeted communities, so that we can “Catch them Young” and transform their mindset on issues of violence.
We have done trainings on citizens’ journalism strategies where community action team members and students can easily text SGBV and other violence related messages to us for onwards transfer to community radios or electronics and print media houses for quicker actions. This is because in distance underserved rural communities, violence takes place but takes time to reach towns and cities where the protective structures are for quick actions. In most cases, the time the incidents are reported and followed up, either the perpetrators runs away or the required evidences are deleted and as such court finds it difficult to hold the alleged perpetrator accountable in the absence of such required evidences by law. This has made many SGBV cases to be thrown out of court for inadequate evidences.