Sierra Leone
Founded in 1998

Contact Details:

 

Fields of Intervention:

DCI-Sierra Leone was created in Sierra Leone in order to promote and defend children’s rights. Therefore, several actions are undertaken in the following priority issues:

  • Child Justice – promoting protection and justice for children in conflict with the law
  • Child victims of abuse/violence and witnesses
  • Addressing Gender-based violence
  • Child Exploitation – particularly focusing on child trafficking and child labour
  • Promoting civil rights of children – birth registration programmes, child participation in programme, and the expression of children’s views

Current Activities and Projects/Programmes:

In recent years, DCI-Sierra Leone has carried out inter alia the following projects:

  • Child Justice

Promoting legal protection and justice for children in conflict with the law and child victims of violence and witnesses. This involves providing legal assistance to children to claim their rights (e.g right to property of their deceased parents in accordance with the Child Rights Act and the Devolution of Estate Act) and also be able to seek legal redress when in conflict with the law or abused. To ensure this, DCI-Sierra Leone has established socio-legal defence centres in its operational areas. Children and/or their families – including children in conflict with the law, and child victims of abuse, exploitation and violence – come to the centres to seek advice and assistance from the staff, which consists of lawyers and social workers. The centres are located at our community-based offices throughout the country. Though run by DCI-Sierra Leone, the centres are linked to community-based mechanisms like Child Welfare Committees, chiefs, courts, local hospitals and health centres, and police posts or Family Support Units of the Sierra Leone Police. These mechanisms form the referral network around the centres and make the work of the centres successful.

  • Ending Child Exploitation, Child Trafficking and Child Labour

DCI-Sierra Leone campaigns and supports communities to end sexual and economic exploitation of children. Hence it builds child protection mechanisms particularly at community level to prevent and respond to child trafficking and child labour. DCI-Sierra Leone also work with transnational companies and the tourism industry, including entertainment facilities to develop child protection policies and code of ethics for their staff and partners in order to prevent child abuse and exploitation by these institutions. DCI-Sierra Leone also works with immigration, the security sector and community leaders to establish and build the capacity of cross-border surveillance mechanisms and networks that can prevent child trafficking and/or rescue and provide support to victims of trafficking including providing immediate advice and assistance, or refer victims to psychosocial, medical, legal or other services.

  • Promoting Civil Rights of Children

DCI-Sierra Leone promotes and campaigns for birth registration of all children as a way of regularising their nationality and access to education and other services that require proof of identity. A community approach is applied, using community based mechanisms such as Ward Development Committees, Child Welfare Committees, Community leaders, and Peripheral Health Units to campaign for and support registration of children. Another fundamental civil rights of children that is promoted is child participation. Children and young people are mobilised and organise into clubs and other groups. They are trained and guided to be able to engage local authorities on issues that affect them in a child friendly manner. DCI-Sierra Leone brings existing children and youth groups to form networks that make their voice louder and stronger.

Success Stories/Testimonials:

  • DCI-Sierra Leone has led civil society campaigns and provided technical inputs towards the development and adoption of many child rights policies and legislation in Sierra Leone. These include the Child Rights Act 2007, the National Child Justice Strategy 2006 and 2013, the Sexual Offences Act 2012, the National Age Verification Guidelines, the National Referral Protocol on Sexual Gender Based Violence, and the National Child Reintegration Policy, to name but a few.
  • Through legal advocacy since 2003, DCI-Sierra Leone has been able to secure justice for over 5,000 child victims of abuse/violence and also removed over 10,000 children from police cells, prisons, and other detention facilities, and succeeded in reintegrating over 70% of them into their families and communities. In this regard, one of DCI-Sierre Leone’s lawyers Mohamed Pa-momo Fofanah won the 2004 Reebok International Human Rights Award for the successful legal representation of children in conflict with the law and child victims of abuse in Sierra Leone. DCI-Sierra Leone has also won several awards from the Children’s Forum Network, the Young Men’s Christian Association, and other institutions for its successful work in the area of promoting child justice and legal rights of children in Sierra Leone
  • Through DCI-Sierra Leone’s Scocio-Legal Defence Centres, the organisation was able to directly assist 1’464 children (802 boys, 662 girls)in conflict or in contact with the law.

Reports/Publications:

TO BE ADDED