Developed by the program staff on the ground in Sierra Leone, these values represent our pact with the communities where we work.
Fambul Tok is committed to:
- Being non political and non partisan
- Meeting people in their communities to listen and learn
- Walking with communities to find their own answers
- Respect for and revival of traditions and culture
- Total community participation and ownership
- Transparency and accountability in relationships and activities
- Honesty and respect for all people
- Sharing experiences, stories and learnings with others
- Restoration of dignity and the right to truth
THE WHY QUESTION: THE ASSUMPTIONS THAT GUIDE OUR WORK
Fambul Tok is the inspiration and creation of the people of Sierra Leone, drawing on Sierra Leone’s “family talk” tradition of discussing and resolving issues within the security of a family circle. As a result, our approach is rooted not in western concepts of crime and punishment but in communal African sensibilities that emphasize the need for communities to be whole – with each and every member playing a role.
Fambul Tok is rooted in consultative processes that foster local ownership of the program at every level in order to create maximum impact in the community healing process in Sierra Leone.
Fambul Tok is guided by the conviction that each person has the power, goodness and capacity to contribute to society in helpful and healthy ways. Yet when people experience violence and hurt, those innate capacities can be suppressed and cause individuals to act in ways contrary to their nature. Fambul Tok–with the aid of local leaders who provide guidance and moral support in the process of forgiveness and reconciliation–supports individual and community healing through traditional practices that have proved effective in the past and walks with communities towards a peaceful future.
THE HOW QUESTION: REBUILDING COMMUNITY
The signature of Fambul Tok in Sierra Leone is a commitment to community ownership, participation, and sustainability. This unique and carefully designed process begins with a district consultation that draws a diverse and representative group of leaders (including chiefs, women leaders, religious leaders, youth, war victims and ex-combatants) together to discuss the district’s reconciliation needs and desire to engage in Fambul Tok. At the end of each consultation, an all-volunteer District Executive Committee is formed that helps identify contact people (one male and one female) in each chiefdom to receive extensive training. They in turn identify gender balanced outreach teams and reconciliation committees at the section level within their chiefdom.
The contact persons, outreach teams, and reconciliation committees each have different responsibilities for educating their communities about Fambul Tok, mediating conflicts that inhibit the community from coming together, gathering community members to plan a reconciliation ceremony, and supporting follow-up activities in the communities. Dozens of trainings are held throughout the district for these volunteers to learn Fambul Tok values and raise awareness and build skills to help them in their roles. A district coordinator and at least one deputy coordinator are chosen from each district to become part of the program staff and are the key points of contact in the district, shepherding the communities through their forgiveness ceremonies and the ongoing development of Fambul Tok.
Understanding that reconciliation is a process and not a one-time event, the Fambul Tok staff works with communities on a long-term basis, supporting reconciliation activities and local reconciliation structures until they are strong enough to support themselves. The reconciliation ceremonies are only the beginning of the reconciliation process.