Research and International Collaboration
The objective of Research and International cooperation was to ensure that existing initiatives around research and publication are coordinated and developed into a specific product for use by the organisation.
It was also intended to develop a new research and publication materials to add on to our existing literature. The organisation has succeeded to a large extent in achieving the objectives set out through the following activities.
Workshop on Research Process to Promote Gender Concerns in Elections and Governance
The attempt at promoting the interest of Women and Youth in governance and elections has been slow despite the several international obligations and conventions to which the state has committed itself. The United Nations has recommended a 30% minimum Women’s participation in effective and democratic governance. As a result, the organisation embarks on series of activities to meet the United Nations standard for Women in Sierra Leone. The current Parliament has about 18 Women and the situation is slightly improved at the local level.
However, concern about the need to promote gender concerns in elections and governance continue to gain influence both at national and the international level. This brought the intervention of the 50/50 Group in partnership with Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) to organise a two days advocacy workshop to develop a conceptual framework and design instruments for assessing the quality of the processes to promote gender concerns in elections and governance. This workshop was organised in the last quarter of 2010 with the sole aim of undertaking research to identify the main obstacles and barriers in different cultural, traditional, political, socio-economic context that affects Women and Youth participation in both political and electoral processes.
Additionally this research will build on existing knowledge to assess the elective systems and governance practices in order to identify the challenges and best practices for effective policy influencing initiatives to promote quality gender responsiveness at every stage in the electoral process.
The period under review found the 50/50 Group benefiting from new initiatives and collaborations with relevant funders, international organisations, civil society organisations and Institutions. Key ones include:
- Irish Aid
- African Women Development Fund
- American Embassy ( Ambassadors Small Grant Fund)
- Global Fund for HIV/AIDS
During the period, 50/50 Group continued discussions with Irish Aid which intended to take over all Trocaire/ DFID funded projects on Democratic Governance in Sierra Leone. Such engagements continued with IBIS which has initially funded our local District branch in Kono District in the East of the Country. We are also currently in discussion with Woman Kind – UK on possible collaboration around Democracy and peace building issues. We intend to continue these engagements until actual contracts / MOU signed between our organisations.
The group is also proud to have been nominated as member of the Labour Party policy review processes of the Shadow International Development Team with a term of reference
“Supporting the sustainable empowerment of Women and Girls in the Developing World”
The Organisations immediate past President- Mrs. Harriett Turay was nominated by the Labour Party to serve in one of the committees with an objective to increase the political, business, legal and community representation of Women at all levels of governance. This committee also identifies strategies to support Women in emerging Democracies, legal literacy and civic education.
In the Country, new partnerships were formed with the following organisations.
- African Peer Review Mechanism for which we became member of the National Governing Council.
- Women’s Solidarity Support Group (WSSG)
A number of local and foreign students including university graduates had their internship with the 50/50 Group. During this period, the Group internship programme was strengthened with the continued institutional strengthening activities of volunteers from the University of Ottawa, Canada, University of Illinois and the University of Sierra Leone.
Some of the activities they undertook include
- Production of manuals and fact sheets
- In charge and training of our 50/50 school clubs
- Newspaper analysis on women issues, gender and women in public life
- Conduct base line surveys etc.
Other interns from tertiary institutions in Sierra Leone, USA also carried out studies on women in decision making using the 2007/2008 elections as a study area. The report of their activities provided a lot of opportunities for the organisation to develop strategies for funding proposals in their area.