One Family People Unveils II Giardino Di Ngali 2 Project

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By Alvin Lansana Kargbo

In a bid to raise awareness, advocate for change, and provide crucial support to children; particularly children with disabilities in the country, One Family People, in partnership with the Italian organization, Nadia Onlu, has on Friday 17th May, 2024 officially launched the II Giardino Di Ngali 2 Project spanning from 2023-2025. The launching ceremony which attracted key stakeholders and advocates for children’s welfare and rights was held at the Peace Museum Hall, Special Court on New England Ville in Freetown.

The II Giardino Di Ngali 2 Project is a comprehensive initiative designed to provide crucial awareness and support for children and young people, particularly those with disabilities. The project focuses on critical issues such as sexual reproductive health, gender-based violence, adoption and human trafficking.

Initially rolling out in the Freetown municipality, the project is set to expand to other provinces over its 18-month duration. Notably, the project is already six months into its implementation phase.

In her keynote address, Hon. Baindu Dassama, Inclusion Adviser from the Office of the President, emphasized the urgent need for robust strategies to tackle the challenges faced by vulnerable children. She highlighted the plight of orphans who often end up on the streets and become susceptible to trafficking.

Hon. Dassama commended the efforts to trace and reunite children with their families rather than placing them in alternative care and called for stricter penalties for perpetrators of rape and human trafficking.

She stressed the importance of a united effort to create an inclusive and equitable society that supports and protects all children adding how she also acknowledges existing laws and policies in Sierra Leone aimed at safeguarding children, emphasizing the need for community involvement, particularly from elders to ensure the well-being of vulnerable children.

Henry Mustapha Sheku, the Deputy Commissioner of the National Children’s Commission (NCC), highlighted the establishment and crucial role of the NCC in overseeing the implementation of children’s rights in Sierra Leone.

He praised One Family People and their partners for their unwavering dedication to children and young people with disabilities, reiterating the Government’s commitment to child welfare, as outlined in national development plans and pledged the NCC’s support in prioritizing children’s rights and ensuring their active participation in decision-making processes.

The Deputy Commissioner further emphasized the NCC’s intent to collaborate with stakeholders to address the challenges faced by children with disabilities, particularly in accessing essential social services. He said the Commission plans to leverage its monitoring and coordination mandate to support upcoming projects aimed at enhancing support for vulnerable children.

Beatrice Koroma, representing the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), discussed the organization’s collaborative efforts with other UN agencies to support individuals with disabilities in Sierra Leone.

She highlighted the focus on ensuring access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) services, family planning and inclusive health policies.

Beatrice Koroma stressed the importance of partnerships with various entities, including the Ministry and non-governmental organizations like UNHCR to promote programs addressing the unique SRHR needs of children and women with disabilities.

She expressed optimism about the partnerships forged and emphasized the shared goal of enhancing the quality of life for people and children with disabilities through these collaborative efforts.

Sia Elizabeth Conteh, the Coordinator of the Family Support Unit and Line Manager at Lumley Police Station, discussed the project’s focus on addressing issues related to children, women and sexual and gender requirements.

She underscored the importance of reporting cases of abuse and violence to the Family Support Unit, which is dedicated to investigating cases involving trafficked individuals and providing support to those facing challenges, including disabled children.

The Coordinator of the Family Support Unit and Line Manager emphasized the need to create a safe and supportive environment for individuals with disabilities to report abuse and violence. She encouraged individuals to come forward to the Police and the Family Support Group for assistance and justice.

Susan Kargbo, Senior Protection Assistant from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), provided an overview of IOM’s work in combating child trafficking and protecting vulnerable children. She highlighted the organization’s focus on orderly and regular migration in line with Sustainable Development Goal 10.7 and emphasized the need for specialized support for children at risk of trafficking or exploitation.

She also stressed the importance of collaboration with State and non-state actors, particularly the Ministry of Social Welfare, to address child protection issues and raise awareness about human trafficking. Susan Kargbo mentioned the Global Compact on Migration developed by IOM, outlining key objectives aimed at creating regular pathways and reducing vulnerabilities for children on the move.

A representative from Marie Stopes Sierra Leone highlighted their organization’s work in providing family planning and sexual reproductive health services across the country. The representative emphasized inclusiveness as a key approach to ensure no one is left behind in accessing these essential services. She said, through partnerships with the European Union and local entities, Marie Stopes is working to expand access to adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights, particularly targeting vulnerable populations in rural and hard-to-reach areas.

She furthermore said the organization supports supply chain management, capacity building and training initiatives to empower individuals, especially women and adolescent girls, to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. The Marie Stopes representative stressed the importance of everyone, regardless of age, disability, or background, having the right to access reproductive health services and make choices that positively impact their future.

During the formal launching statement, the representative from Nadia Onlu discussed the organization’s focus on helping children and families in Sierra Leone. He said initially founded to facilitate adoptions, Nadia Onlu has since shifted its mission to keeping children with their parents and supporting families. According to him, the organization aims to empower children to have a better quality of life and maintain connections with their families whenever possible.

The representative expressed gratitude towards those who support Nadia’s mission and emphasized the importance of unity and collaboration in their work. He highlighted the significance of community support in achieving their goals and stressed the value of working together to help those in need.

The launch of the II Giardino Di Ngali 2 Project marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing efforts to support and protect vulnerable children and young people in Sierra Leone.

With a strong focus on collaboration, inclusivity and comprehensive support, the project aims to address critical issues and create a more equitable and supportive environment for all children, especially those with disabilities. As the project progresses, it is poised to make a lasting impact on the lives of many, contributing to the broader goal of leaving no one behind by 2030.


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