The country is one of the poorest countries in the world, despite being ranked as one of the world’s top ten countries that are rich in minerals. It also holds one of the highest records of violence against women and girls, in the West African sub- region. The ten years of rebel war officially accounts for nearly 600,000 women and girls violated during this senseless destructive civil conflict that ended in 2002. Despite the end of the war, its effects have contributed largely in the escalation of violence and abuse against wome.
MenEngage Sierra Leone
Men’s Association for Gender Equality-Sierrra Leone (MAGE-SL) is a non-profit and a network of male-led organisations working towards the promotion of Gender equality through advocacy, dialogue and raising awareness on gender policies, women’s rights and empowerment in Sierra Leone.
What do they do
The Association strives to circumvent the traditional academic approach to gender promotion and advocacy by adopting a bottom-up approach with grassroots oriented strategies from within the family settings of Sierra Leone. The ten years rebel war, which officially ended in 2002, contributed towards the escalation of violence and abuse against women. Rape in particular was systematically used in the war by all warring factions. Until 2004 rape was a legal crime in Sierra Leone. Traditionally, women in many parts of Sierra Leone are considered as inferior to men. Social structures in these communities such as the legal system of the local community, including family and friends, the educational system, mass media, religion and culture have contributed in many ways to the violent behaviour of men against women.
The purpose of the activities is mainly:
- To improve the status of women and girls
- To address issues of gender inequality and reverse the dismal situation that most females in the country find themselves in
- To circumvent the traditional academic approach to gender promotion and advocacy by adopting a bottom-top approach with grassroots oriented strategies from within the family settings of Sierra Leone.
Some of the activities were
- Community stakeholders engagement forums on men’s issues.
- Popularizing the three National Gender Acts of 2007 which include....
- Radio discussion programs on gender equality
- Community drama performances on gender in relation to HIV and AIDS
- One on one discussions on gender-based violence.
- Intergenerational dialogues at community level on social norms and how it amplifies violence against women and girls
- Public Rallies
- School outreach programme
- Debates and symposiums
- Training and capacity building for rural based men
- Training of men and boys on gender equality and the prevention of gender-based violence
- Policy Advocacy Campaign on GBV laws and gender equality
- Training of Trainers of Civil Society Groups on social norms and mobilization on gender and GBV laws
Target group for activities were
• A wide range of stakeholders which includes but not limited to policy makers and central government representatives
- Women and girls
- Men and boys,
- Community or opinion leaders/duty bearers
- Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
- Faith Based Organisations (FBOs)
As a result we have seen
• A gradual increase in involving women in free and fare decision making processes
- Promotion of women’s ownership and literacy rights
- Speedy but accurate trials of gender related cases in courts
- Improved status of women in the society
- Reversal of the dismal situation that women face in communities, especially in rural settings where policing and law enforcement remain a huge challenge.
Contact person for country network
Mr Tamba David Mackieu
MenEngage Country Network
Abdulai Abubakarr Sesay
Service For Peace-Sierra Leone Chapter