REPORT ON THE OBSERVATION OF 16DAYS
OF ACTIVISM ON GENDER BASED VIOLENCE
25TH NOVEMEBR – 10TH DECEMBER 2020
WORKING WITH SURVIVORS 4TH DECEMBER 2020
Survivors Sharing of Experiences during COVID-19 Pandemic
ACTIVITY: Women’s Forum Observation of the 16 Days of
Activism. Collecting the experience of Survivors of
War at Grafton Camp.
VENUE: War Wounded Community Camp Grafton
DATE: 4th December 2020
TIME: 9:00am – 1pm
PARTICIPANTS: 35 Survivors Women and Youths
FACILITATORS: Maude R. Peacock
Gladys Hastings Spaine
COORDINATOR: Rosaline M’carthy
The 16 Days of Activism. This was given by Hannah Gillen after the necessary prelinaries, prayers, welcome and introductions done by Mrs. Peacock, Agnes Abu and Edith Kpendema respectively.
Mrs. Gillen pointed out that the 16 Days of Activism is observed from 25th November -10th December. It is a global Campaign highlighting the connections between WOMEN, VIOLENCE and HUMAN RIGHTS.
During this period 4 important dates are recognized:
The assassination of the Mirabel sisters on the 25th Nov 1960 in the Dominican Republic.
The Center for Women's Global Leadership in NJ (USA) CWGL. It originates from the call for a Global Campaign of 16 Days against GBV. It was the outcome of the first Women's Global Institute Conference on Women Violence and Human Rights held in June 1991 Rutgers University NJ.
Aims of the Campaign amongst others:
1) Awareness Raising about SGBV
2) To ensure protection of survivors of Violence
3) A call for the Elimination of Violence against Women & Girls
4) To raise Awareness in students, local, national and regional communities.
GLOBAL THEME: Orange the World: Fund Respond Prevent and Collect.
Stand-up and Support Prevention of Violence against women and girls.
As we carry on our various activities for the prevention of SGBV in SL the Women's Forum Sierra Leone commends the dynamic efforts of the Minister of Gender and Children Affairs and her team and all our ESTEEMED PARTNERS in their efforts to curb this malaise.
THE CONJUGAL SLAVERY PROJECT
Which is being coordinated by Mrs. Rosaline M’carthy is a significant aftermath of the rebel war in Sierra Leone and it deals with survivors of the war. It is funded through the efforts of Professor Ann Bunting of Canada and has done so for Survivors of the War at this Grafton War Affected Community Camp. This was one of the reasons why she was awarded the Women’s Forum Prestigious award in 2019. As the 16 Days of Activism is an attempt to ensure protection of survivors of violence, hence the Women’s Forum is here with them today to interact with them and to collect their experiences during this challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sierra Leone. THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC The COVID-19 Pandemic and the preventive measures were reiterated by Agnes Abu. She reminded them about the preventive measures. Social Distancing Washing of Hands regularly Use of Face masks These should be adhered to strictly.
SHARING OF EXPERIENCES OF GENDER BASED VIOLENCE OCCASION BY COVID-19
After a short break in which they had their refreshments of sandwich and water, participants were divided into two (2) groups. Women and youths. The Chairlady of the camp thanked the Women’s Forum for thinking about them and prayed for the sustainability of funds of which Professor Ann Bunting was thanked through Rosaline M’carthy. She pointed out that it was only the Women’s Forum that is persistently interacting and helping them. Each and every participant shared their experiences during this challenging times. Economic challenges The efforts of collectively putting them into their money box stopped completely. Reason being the lockdown, curfew and isolation. They could not continue their trading as such there was disruption of their once active and dynamic Osusu. Those who traded in the regions suffered a lot, as their perishable stuff got rotten during the lock down period. Those dealing with firewood in the Grafton Community, had to stop for they could not be sold, to those who used to prepare food for sale. Emotional and Psychological Effect The sitting down at home gave them emotional and Psychological stress. There were lots of quarrelling and fighting in their homes and the community. The “sufferness” economic hardship and the “tranganess” lack of food was great. The Closure of Churches and Mosques This had an adverse effect on their religiosity. Although they prayed at home, it lacked the effect of meeting as a congregation and praying together. The immorality high. The Youths Schools closed from March to October. Loss of interest in school. No remedial lessons for their exams. No revision from their teachers. As a result failure academically was high. Most of the youths were depressed for failure of having nothing to do. Drug abuse and aggressive behavior. They could not do petty trading as before. One reminded the group that an empty skull is the devils workshop. Teenage Pregnancy on the increase. CONCLUSION Through dancing, singing and prayers psychological counselling was done by Mrs. Peacock who created an atmosphere of hope for the participants and their children as they were in a state of hopelessness as their development had been shattered by the COVID-19 epidemic.
VOTE OF THANKS
This was given by the Chairlady of the Camp. She pointed out that the presence of the Women’s Forum in the camp has instilled hope for them. She appealed that Professor Ann Bunting should be reached and thank immensely on their behalf as well as Mrs. Rosaline M’carthy.
That the Economic Empowerment Box be revived. The disrupted educational advancement of the youths be considered. That Government should provide funds for the Work of the Women’s Forum to take care of Survivors of the War.
Maude R. Peacock (Mrs.)