Fambul Tok facilitates Women’s Dialogue at the Community Center in Zimmi town, Makpele chiefdom, Pujehun District, southern Sierra Leone. Sixty women’s representatives were drawn from the four sections of Kengo, Selimeh, Samagbe, and Seitua. The minister of state, fambulTok staff and other representatives from the office of the vice president were all in attendance for the women’s dialogue on 30th August 2021. This is part of the UNPBF project “Mitigating local resource based conflicts and increasing community resilience
Making the Keynote address, the Minister of State Office in the Office of the Vice President, Francess Algalie, said she feels delightful to see women showing willingness to express their views as road map to bridge divisions among communities and
personal issues within the chiefdom. She discloses to Makpele chiefdom women the importance of gender mainstreaming in conflict mitigation. She further stated that the inclusivity of women in the decision-making process in development projects in the communities and the chiefdom as a whole would enhance sustainable peace and development, because behind ‘every successful man there is a strong woman’. The minister admonished all the women to stand firm and find local solutions to Makpele issues. She encourages all the women to form a working committee, in which all the four sections should be involved to engage the paramount chief and other stakeholders to advocate for women inclusion in the decision-making process in the entire chiefdom.
Fambul Tok Joseph M Kargbo welcomed all and admonished them to feel free to express their views. ‘The dialogue is exclusively for women to discuss the outstanding issues identified during Grievance Redress Committee (GRC)
meetings and dialogue sessions in Makpele and Pujehun; and to find recommendations for those issues to engender peaceful co – existence in Makpele chiefdom’.
Madam Hawa Conteh, Fambul Tok Peace Mother’s Coordinator, in facilitating the dialogue stated that, women are important in any conflict resolution and development project in communities and chiefdoms. She encouraged women to speak up, look into the identified issues and find solutions. She further read out the outstanding issues identified during the past sessions.
In an interactive discussion, Madan Adama Konneh of Zimmi town expressed her gratitude to Fambul Tok’s relentless job for creating the platform for women to be seen at the front and amplify their voices for sustainable development in the chiefdom. Madam Conteh demonstrated “the broken cup” illustration; explaining that if communities are not united, they won’t be able to mobilize resources for themselves, but if communities come together, they will mobilize resources and embrace development.
Madam Gitta Kanneh, the chiefdom Mammy Queen thanks Fambul Tok for creating such a wonderful interactive dialogue for women to speak up and be part of the peace process in the chiefdom. She continues that the exclusion of women in participating in development projects in the chiefdom is still going on. “I’m pleading to Fambul Tok and her partners to continue to support women to become resilient in our various communities”, Madam Jitta said.
CDC member Umu Sowa stated that one of the issues, affecting the development of the chiefdom, is misinformation that sometimes makes it difficult to mobilize as women to speak in one voice to stakeholders.
Jebbeh Gbosowa whose land is occupied by Natural Habitat expressed dissatisfaction that most of the promises made by Natural Habitat have not been met and there are delays in surface rent payment. As a result they are now the subjects of ridicule in the community and this has brought mixed feelings among them.
In conclusion the women recommended the following:
- Formation of women’s working committee to in which all the sections are represented to engage the paramount chief and other stakeholders to advocate for other women in the chiefdom.
- Women of Makpele calls for another chiefdom dialogue for transparency and accountability in the restructuring of the Chiefdom Development Committee executive (CDC).
- To engage political heads, MP, Labour minister and director of Local Government to look into the working conditions of employees in the Natural Habitat Company
- WFP to prioritize women in the inland valley swamp (IVS) project
- The women of Makpele chiefdom calls on stakeholders of Makpele and Barray to hold an inclusive meeting resolve the constituency boundary dispute between constituency 099 and ward 349