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UN Women end reflection session

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The UN Women Sierra Leone chapter on Wednesday 12 December 2012 held a Reflection Session on the Women’s Situation Room Participation in the 2012 electoral process in Sierra Leone at the Kenema District conference hall, Nyadeyama Road,  Kenema.  (Photo: Participants in the session)

In her opening statement the focal person of Women’s Situation Room (WSR) Eastern region, who doubles as the chairperson of the program, Madam Alice McCarthy welcomed all participants present and thanked them for leaving their busy schedules and traveling from their various districts for this all important program.

Giving her statement, the representative the National Consultant of WSR,  Mrs. Florence Sesay said that the WSR was established in September 2012 with the aim of monitoring the election process in Sierra Leone and was created through the initiative of UN Women and that they are all together in Kenema today to reflect on their past activities with regards successes and challenges.

The Regional Coordinator of Movement for Restoration of Democracy Sierra Leone (MRD) who speaks on the International WSR Mr. Patrick Adu said that the initiation of having the WSR in Sierra Leone was a good one even though it was later, but was successful. Adding he is here bringing toward all that went on during and after elections, particularly with women and that the activities were done to add value to the electoral process.

Mr. Adu reiterated that some NEC officers were not able to do the calculation after the counting which was the cause of the delay in the process.

Speaking on behalf on UN Women, the program coordinator Madam Baindu Massaquoi said that the WSR started in Liberia, Guinea and now in Sierra Leone of which they now have a new consultant to help plan for the 2017 elections, but before planning they need to know what went on well and wrong in the 2012 electoral process including challenges so that a proper planning will be done.

Baindu Massaquoi reiterated they also want to leant from their mistakes, address them and improve on their success, so she encouraged participants to speak from the bottom of their hearts, adding that even though the process started late this time, they want to start the 2017 electoral process as early as possible so that they will avoid the inconsistency.

One of the participants from Kailahun, who is the WSR focal person in Kailahun district, Madam Satta Ndoleh, said that the process was not timely and with so many trainings conduced by UN Women they were expected to be equipped with tools to monitor the 2012 elections but only a few tools were given. She said that even though with those constraints they were able to deploy deeper into the Kailahun district.

The representative from Kono who is the Gender Desk Officer of Knowledge for Community Empowerment Organization (KOCEPO), Madam Martha Sia Lewis, said that in Kono they targeted fifty groups for the training and that during the voting day women were desperate to vote as early as 4:00 a.m. on the 17th November 2012 but some NEC staff were not properly trained and so much time was spent in counting and calculating.  She added that the process itself was a good one but was bad along the line of implementation but gained recognition in the Kono District.

Special prayers for women in conflict situations around the world and Africa, specifically west and central Africa, and women in conflict situation in Sierra Leone climaxed the occasion.

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