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Kampagne gegen die Straflosigkeit

Gerechtigkeit heilt

Medizinische Flüchtlingshilfe Bochum e.V.

Netzwerk gegen Straflosigkeit / Red contra la impunidad / Network against impunity

Contact: John Caulker
Truth and Reconciliation Working Group
56 Blama Road
Kenema, Sierra Leone
c/o Network Movement for Justice and Dev.
Telephone: +232-04-2258
e-mail: johncaulker@hotmail.com

Press Release

Press Conference
Date: 27th March 2007

Intercultural project of German and Sierra Leonean Students and Forum of Conscience
Project Goal: Raising awareness on the TRC Report

Target Group:
Secondary school pupils in Sierra Leone

German Students from Commit to Partnership e.V., volunteer association which supports local initiatives in Africa in order to implement educative development projects:

·    Ms. Diane Bombart
·    Ms. Maike Schoelmerich
·    Mr. Moritz Monninger
·    Ms. Rebecca Kilian
·    Mr. Sebastian Neubert
·    Mr. Stefan Biro

Sierra Leonean students from Milton Margai College for Education and Technology, studying Peace & Conflict:

·    Mr. Abu K. Kargbo
·    Ms. Charlestina Riddle
·    Mr. Emmanuel Robin-Mason
·    Ms. Fatmata Sumaila
·    Mr. Kombah Momoh
·    Ms. Nancy E. Bassie

On the 16th of February six highly energized students from the southern German city of Munich landed at Lungi International Airport where they were warmly welcomed by Forum of Conscience staff and Milton Margai students. This was the starting point of an exciting, enriching and rewarding partnership project about the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone. The project was conducted by the renowned human rights NGO Forum of Conscience in cooperation with Commit and ended last friday after six weeks of travelling several provinces and visiting ten secondary schools throughout the country.

The intercultural team of students had embarked on a mission to spread basic concepts of conflict management and human rights. Our central goal was to promote the TRC report and its recommendations to contribute to sustainable peace in this country. The underlying program had been developed in a one-week workshop led by FOC professionals Ms. Adenike Cole, Mrs. Marian Abu and Mr. John Caulker. The twelve students were educated in trauma management, TRC contents, conflict theory, Sierra Leonean history and team building philosophy.

Furthermore, the workshop involved the establishment of various methods to be used at schools to convey the TRC message in ways that could be easily understood by the secondary school pupils. One of these methods was to perform dramatic skits that illustrate everyday situations of conflicts. Thereby the team had benefited from the professional support of young local film director and theatre coach Michael Kargbo (ABC TV Jamcast Production).

Secondary schools visited as follows:

·    Benevolent Islamic Secondary School, Makeni
·    St. Francis Secondary School, Makeni
·    Pampana High School, Magburaka
·    National Commercial Secondary School, Magburaka
·    Tombo Secondary School, Tombo
·    Peninsula Secondary School, Waterloo
·    Holy Rosary Secondary School, Kenema
·    Government Secondary School, Kenema
·    St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Blama
·    Ahmadiyya Secondary School, Blama

Each school visit took two days and was spent with the pupils of the FOC-clubs, which have been established one year ago. The first day at the schools was used to introduce the topic of conflict and to create a climate of mutual trust and cordial friendship between the intercultural team and the club members. This was achieved through interacting and playing games in small groups. One Sierra Leonean student and one German student led the discussions in each group and encouraged the children to ask any question they would like to ask.

The second day started with the presentation of two skits which were afterwards discussed with the pupils in the small groups that had been formed the day before. A poster story introduced the pupils to the Secondary School Version of the TRC report. This story explained the history of the TRC, its goals and its contribution to the peaceful future of Salone. Final discussions focused on the TRC recommendations and how relevant they are to solve the problems that the pupils had previously identified as their primary concerns.

After concluding the project successfully a feeling of satisfied enthusiasm and a loving friendship between Sierra Leoneans and Germans filled the hearts of all participants. As a lovely side effect, the project entangled the German culture with beautiful songs such as Mabinthi and Borbor Pain, and food such as cassava leaves and fufu. We also enjoyed many podapoda rides during our visit.

The base for a long-term cooperation of FOC and Commit to Partnership is set. After our return to Germany future projects will be discussed with the chairpersons of FOC (Mr. John Caulker) and Commit (Ms. Dominique Pannke). Moreover, we will implement our experiences back home in Germany. For example, we will tell secondary school pupils in Munich about their fellow pupils in Salone and try to create further links between our countries through pen friendships.

For further Information contact:
Commit to Partnership:Sebastian Neubert Email: sebastian.neubert@com-mit.org Tel: +491631910857
Forum of Conscience: Marian Abu (Mrs.) Email: foc_sl@yahoo.com
Tel: +232 33 365300