DCI-Sierra Leone was created 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
DCI – Sierra Leone successfully contributed to the ruling of the ECOWAS Court in favour of Pregnant Adolescent School Girls in Sierra Leone against the government of Sierra Leone, requesting the state to lift the ban on pregnant girls from attending formal schools in Sierra Leone.
On the 17th of May 2018, Defence for Children International Sierra Leone together with other CSOs in Sierra Leone in partnership with Equality Now filed an application at the ECOWAS Court seeking the enforcement of the fundamental rights of pregnant adolescent schoolgirls in Sierra Leone. The exclusion of pregnant schoolgirls from attending school in Sierra Leone pre-dated the 1991-2002 civil war in the country. This was further propagated by the-then Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Minkailu Bah who had made a public statement which became a policy directing that all pregnant school girls will not be allowed to be in school with their pregnancies as they serve as a negative influence on their peers.
Most importantly, on 12th of December 2019, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice found that the government of Sierra Leone breached the right of pregnant girls to education by prohibiting pregnant schoolgirls from accessing school. Additionally, the Court found that the government of Sierra Leone had not only put in place a discriminatory policy barring pregnant girls from school but had also failed to put in place measures to reduce teenage pregnancies in line with the National Strategy for the Reduction of Teen Pregnancies, which was adopted after the civil war.