The Political atmosphere in Sierra Leone is one that is sometimes referred to as relatively stable but fragile due to a number of reasons such as high unemployment amongst the youthful population which accounts for over 65% of the country’s population, constant clashes between youth and the security especially the Police, high costs of living and growing distrust for the Justice systems to mention a few.
Despite strides being made by international bilateral good governance institutions such as the United Nations, the Mano River Union Secretariat & the Diplomatic community etc. to promote and support good governance and peacebuilding initiatives, tensions continues to mount between political parties with reports of violence leading to the loss of lives in different parts of the country resulting in fear amongst the population as the country prepares to head into its general elections in about a year from now.
It could be recalled that about a week ago, the UN Resident Mission in Sierra Leone had to put out an official statement calling for calm, political tolerance, healing and investigations into an incident that erupted into violent clashes between the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) in the Tonkolili District in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone during a by-election where it was reported that several young people were severely injured.
As an active youth-serving Peacebuilding organization, Young Peace Builders (YPB) has engaged youth of the District and further conducted a three days intensive Alternative Dispute Resolution Training for twenty four (24) young Peace builders within the district from the 16 th -18 th June 2022.
The training which took place at the Kholifa Rowalla Chiefdom brought together a total of fourteen (14) young women and ten (10) young men who were selected in consonance with the local authorities as they are expected to be supporting the leadership of their villages in resolving disputes with the gender lens on.
According to the National Coordinator Ms. Umu K. Mansaray, who conducted the training on; “Addressing Sexual & Gender Based Violence during conflict resolution”, she firstly expressed her disappointments in the government’s refusal to ensure national and holistic growth and development for the youth but continues to exploit them for their selfish interests.
"I could not believe that most of what we presented to them during the training was heard for the very first time and this means we have a lot more to do to help our peers" she said.
She also further stated that she was excited with the fact that they had more young women on the training to receive such timely knowledge to enable them become resilient
change-makers within their communities.
Speaking to this medium, the co-trainer Mr. Alie Figo Koroma who is the organization’s Sports for Peace Coordinator said that they will continue this process and will endeavor to utilize more of sporting activities to unite and raise awareness for a peaceful co-existence in these communities.
In a telephone conversation with the Executive Director of the Young Peace Builders (YPB) who happens to also be the Regional Speaker of the Mano River Union Youth Parliament, Mr. Herbert BiCool Bangura said he was not surprised by the demonstrated leadership of the his team members as they are proven and tested Peace Rebels whose passion is set on building safer communities and that they will continue to pursue their mission of creating a supportive environment for the survival and development of communities and asked that more partners come onboard to support their initiative in order to be able to do more and reach more beneficiaries.
He concluded by saying that the just concluded training in Tonkolili by his team members was made possible through a small grant support from the; “Kolhat Barray Projected” implemented in partnership with CordAid & YPPD in Sierra Leone with funds provided through the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.