Search on country

Search on project

Search on type of information

Sierra Leone ; Evaluation

In December 2009 an evaluation was conducted in eight communities. The community members indicated that they notice improvement in the interaction and peaceful coexistence between community members, particularly young adults and adults. They also see positive impact of livelihood activities such as numeracy and literacy skills. Some progress has been noticed in awareness and support of child rights. As some is not enough, War Child will continue in 2010 to improve on this result.

Highlights

Child Friendly Centres
War Child opened eight new child friendly, non-formal education centres where the community organises meetings, cultural festivities, and numeracy/literacy trainings. The official opening of the centres attracted a lot of people including parliamentarians, representatives from ministries and the chiefs responsible for the communities where War Child is active. Some of the events were shown on national television which increased War Childs visibility in the country.

Child Protection Policy
As in many communities a lot of child abuse cases take place, War Child started to organise child protection trainings for the Child and Youth Support Structures (CYSS). When the course is finished, participants have to sign a child protection policy and elect people that community members, including children, could address to report abuse cases. Community members stated that the training and policy will protect children since there is now a clear understanding of what child abuse is as well as a clear reporting system.

Celebrations and events
With the support of War Child, various celebrations took place in several communities:

The Day of the African Child was celebrated in Makeni with a photography exhibition developed and presented by children. Children themselves appealed to authorities directly to work on the rights of children, which the government has committed to do. The exhibition drew the attention of radio, TV and several internet newspapers. Another community used the Day of the African Child to present the Child Protection Policy, with the community chief asking those present not to see the policy as a ‘Western way of working’ but to take it as their own protective measure for their children.

The World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse was celebrated in Port Loko and Freetown with the drama performance Performing for Peace. This activity gave children and young adults the opportunity to show their parents, teachers and local and national policy makers what problems they are facing relating to child abuse. In addition, they had the chance to ask once more for commitments to establish the Child Welfare Committees. One of the big achievements of the performance in Port Loko was the presence of the district council. He said his support will not stop at establishing the Child Welfare Committees but he will also make sure that they are fully strengthened to take up their roles.

Lessons learned

In 2009 War Child selected eight new communities to work with. Some communities had an initial reluctance to respond to War Child because of negative experiences they had with other Non-Governmental Organisations giving false promises and demanding money for registration before becoming potential beneficiaries. The fact that War Child does not request any money helped to take away some of the reluctant feelings. Instead, a locally hired project officer stays overnight so War Child activities can take place in the evening hours when community members have returned from their work. This increased the trust of community members.

The selection of children to participate in activities such as Performing for Peace could be more inclusive and participatory to increase the involvement of children. Sometimes time constraints mitigate against children being chosen to represent their peers using transparent and democratic processes. When children are selected by their peers in ways ensuring that they feel properly represented, they are more likely to feel that they are genuinely participating in the process.