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CHRD launches training manual on women’s rights

CHRD launches training manual on women’s rights

Campaign for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) last Friday, 25th March launched a training manual on women’s rights at the Santano House, Freetown.

The ceremony which was chaired by the Executive Secretary for the National Forum for Human Rights, Alfred Carew saw human rights activists, school children and civil society groups drawn from various institutions.

“I believe in women’s rights because I happen to have three daughters and a son,” Mr. Carew said, while referring to the manual as a significant step taken in the advancement of women’s right in Sierra Leone. The chairman went on to commend the author of the manual, lawyer Hanatu Kabbah whom he said did an excellent job as according to him, the manual was well loaded.

“It is an important tool to your advocacy drive and campaign for a 30% quota in decision making,” he told the women, adding, “if you don’t know your rights you can’t claim them.”

The Chairman further assured the women of his institution’s support to them in their activities while at the same time pledging his personal support to the same.

Lawyer, Sonia Osho Williams from LAWYERS, in her statement expressed how happy her association was for such a development as according to her, “it is a giant step in the advocacy of women’s rights in Sierra Leone.” The female lawyer went further to commend to CHRD and the author, Hanatu Kabbah for a job well done. “This manual will help a great deal in the emancipation of women from human right violations. I know how important this is going to be in our line of work. Hope it will have its desired effect,” she said while pledging her association’s support to the advocacy for women’s rights in Sierra Leone.

The author of the training manual, Lawyer Hanatu Kabbah is the current Country Director for OSIWA in Sierra Leone. According to her, she started working on the book while studying for a Master of Laws (LLM) at the New York University School of Law, USA and continued with upgrading the draft while working for CHRD a couple of years back. The manual was supposed to have been finished long before now but because she wanted to do a perfect job, she painstakingly came out with what has been highly commended by human rights activists in Sierra Leone and beyond.

The manual, she said was funded by OSIWA.

In her well articulated statement, the learned female lawyer extended thanks and appreciation to individuals in her life that inspired her and/or contributed to making her dream a reality. She mentioned her mother whom she said inspired her a lot, her children, especially her daughter who she hopes she can be a source of inspiration to, Dr. Anthony Kakpindi Soyei, her partner, who is one of the leading aspirants for the Presidential flagbearership of the SLPP. “He has always been my icon and very supportive of my aspirations,” she said.

The first draft of the manual, according to her came out in 2005. In 2008, a pilot training and consultations with stakeholders were done countrywide. Formally launching the training manual, Mrs. Rosalyn Macarthy of the National Women’s Forum referred to the manual as timely and of great significance.

The manual, she said would equip trainers in their advocacy work and would help women who are shy and complacent to be bold and confident and be able to claim their human rights.

“Women’s rights are being violated in many areas. Many a times we tend to indict customs and tradition to be a stumbling block to women’s achievement. I believe this training manual, this homegrown initiative will go a long a way to enlighten all of us on how to demand accountability and have greater access to justice,” the women’s rights activist said.

At the end of the ceremony, some 25 participants drawn from the Western Area and trained by CHRD before the launching received certificates and a copy of the training manual. Members of the public present at the ceremony also grabbed a copy of the book each. The book, according to the author is going to be distributed free to schools, colleges and other institutions.

According to Lawyer Hanatu Kabbah, a total of hundred participants are going to be trained in all the four regions of the country – twenty five from each region.

Representatives from the Family Support Unit (FSU), political parties, APYA, among others, took turns in making statements and pledging their support to women’s rights advocacy.

The author of the book Lawyer Hanatu Kabbah is a founding member of LAWCLA where she served as Deputy Director and Head of the Gender Unit. She later worked with CHRD as Coordinator where she continued her initiative of putting together a document that would aid human rights activists in their work. She is currently the Country Director of OSIWA in Sierra Leone.

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