By Alpha Good Kamara
In a significant stride towards strengthening national unity and peaceful coexistence in Sierra Leone, the Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI), in partnership with the Election Conflict Prevention and Mediation Working Group (ECPMG), has successfully wrapped up a post-election dialogue.
This joint effort, led by the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRC-SL), the Eminent Women Peace Mediators Sierra Leone (EWPM-SL), CHRDI, and the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (EC-SL), marks a pivotal initiative in fostering stable electoral processes and democratic institutions throughout the nation.
Emphasizing the principles of inclusivity, transparency, accountability, and public trust within democratic electoral procedures, ECPMG champions these values as paramount to the nation’s growth and stability. The engagement, supported by Open Society Initiative for Africa, convened community leaders, traditional authorities, religious figures and representatives from the security sector. This diverse cohort engaged in candid, productive discussions under the theme “Promoting Social Cohesion and Community Dialogue in Post-Election Scenarios.”
The focal objective of the engagement was to empower young men and women, community stakeholders, religious and traditional leaders, and security personnel with the knowledge and tools necessary to lead conversations on national unity and social harmony.
CHRDI and ECPMG firmly assert that marginalized groups possess limited influence over policies and attitudes driving social cohesion. Abdul M. Fatoma, Chief Executive of CHRDI, highlighted the importance of civil society’s active role in policy formulation and monitoring, ensuring governance systems are transparent, informed and participatory.
Fatoma extended his perspective, indicating that addressing poverty alone falls short, advocating for policy development that encompasses broader social cohesion objectives. These objectives, he asserted, can alleviate income inequalities, enhance access to essential services and create pathways for gainful employment and upward social mobility.
With a longstanding commitment to fostering social cohesion, ECPMG endeavors to create a sense of belonging, foster civic values and encourage trust and social engagement among community leaders. This positive approach, championed by CHRDI’s Fatoma, cultivates a culture of peace that enables civil society and media to fulfill their vital roles.
Both CHRDI and ECPMG underscored the significance of community dialogues as essential conduits for peace promotion. Such platforms enable collaboration among various community stakeholders, bolstering partnerships and safeguarding the nation’s cultural heritage.
Through this joint initiative, CHRDI and ECPMG are resolute in their vision of a harmonious Sierra Leone, characterized by unity, cooperation and the preservation of cultural diversity.