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OSIWA Empowers Africa Youth Disability Network On Citizens’ Journalism

OSIWA Empowers Africa Youth Disability Network On Citizens’ Journalism

The Open Society for West Africa (OSIWA) has empowered one of the disabled organizations on access to justice through human rights citizens’ journalism for youths with disability in Sierra Leone.

The interface training took place on Monday 13th November, 2017 at the GGEM conference room, John Street in Freetown.

According to the Africa Youth Disability Network Country Representative, Mr. Abu Bakarr Bangura, they decided to train fellow disabled persons due to the several abuses being perpetuated on them by abled body persons with no action taken by the authorities concerned.

Mr. Bangura maintained that they have for far too long suffered a lot noting that such impunity should be discontinued as they equally have the right to many things in society disclosing that their main aim of launching the citizens’ journalism is to ensure that disabled persons have the opportunity to report certain issues happening in communities where they reside and for duty bearers to take prompt action.

He revealed that two weeks after the project was launched, they received over twenty-two reports from the 40 reporters across the country and that a good number of the concerns were adequately addressed by duty bearers including the police and councilors.

Some of the successes reporters highlighted were creating a link between disabled persons and duty bearers and improvements to access to certain facilities in communities by persons with disability.

The police were ably aided by reporters of the network for reporting crime where police presence was not visible.

Furthermore, it improved justice for persons with disability by pursuing their complaints further and helped to create a job for one of the reporters who reported the lack of toilet facilities in three community schools constructed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

However, some of the key challenges were lack of mobile phones, responses from some duty bearers and engagement of reporters on personal activities.

The Communication and Campaign Officer, Mr. Ishmael G. Kamara, who schooled participants on reporting skills, reminded them to take into consideration the five Ws and to always get the other side of a story before reporting.

He said one of the reasons they shifted from computerized system of reporting is because disabled persons find it very difficult to send their reports but that with the introduction of cellphones it is easier.

By Abdul R. Bedor Kamara

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