From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Amnesty Engages Communities on Domestic Violence
By Aruna Turay
Jul 9, 2010, 17:06

In line with the Africa Human Rights Education Project which objective is to enhance Community Based Organizations’ capacity to deliver relevant human rights education and to improve human rights for the disadvantaged through the process of empowering marginalized communities to promote and defend their human rights, the Amnesty International Artist Group (AIAG) is currently breaking grounds in its six operational communities in the Western Area Urban strengthening knowledge of the public about domestic violence through participatory theatres.

According to the Administrative Director Amnesty International Artist Group Mr. Patrick Massaquoi, AIAG is one of the six Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in Sierra Leone that has been capacitated by the Africa Human Rights Education Project to anchor the culture of human rights and domestic violence in communities, strengthen the knowledge of  people to identify and address these issues locally within the human rights framework, coupled with  information on how human rights relate to their lives and the obligations of duty bearers to promote and protect those rights. He said the theme of their project is “Domestic violence”, and they are using participatory theatre to create the necessary awareness on the core problems of domestic violence in their operational communities in the Western Area Urban. This action, the Director went on specifically focuses on the dissemination of information relating to domestic violence involving women and girls. He furthered that the aim of using participation theatre is to enhance the development of a wider and stronger consciousness on domestic violence in target communities.

Mr. Massaquoi informed that before the inception of the theatre performances, a participatory consultation was conducted in their areas of operations.

He cited that AIAG and the other project participants have benefited from specialized training in basic computing, project management, narrative and financial reporting skills, presentation among others, with supports from the Africa Human Rights Education Project in the United Kingdom and the Department for International Development (DFID).

“As theatre artists and human rights activists we are determined to use our theatre skills and techniques to strengthen the knowledge of duty bearers, perpetrators and right holders about domestic violence and other human right issues,” said Director Massaquoi, adding; “With this inspiration, the AIAG has established Community Human Rights Clubs to take ownership in mobilizing and raising awareness on domestic violence and other human rights abuses in their communities”.

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