A two day workshop on Human Rights, Social Protection, advocacy as well as research on last Saturday ended at the British Council in Freetown. The training which was organized by a non-governmental organization, Civil Society Platform for Social Protection (CSPSL) brought several NGOs, CSOs Media and other professional representatives. CSPSL is a coalition of civil society organizations working with the government of Sierra Leone, UN, Agencies, Private sector, and Africa Union to promote Social Protection related issues in the country.
The purpose of the workshop was to build professional National Networking of NGOs, and media representatives for effective advocacy for social protection. The training also focused on experience sharing and review on policy approaches on social protection within and outside Sierra Leone. It was intended to build consensus on future directions and strategic priorities in advocacy for social protection, enhance people skills, team spirit and teamwork. In his statement, the Director of CSPSL, Rev. Dr. Augustine Lansana said the right to social protection is essential human rights for those concerned with breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty, with an enabling access to essential services and with security on adequate standard of living for most vulnerable and exclude citizens.
|Rev Dr.Augustine Lansana explaining the importance of social protection to participants.
He noted that, any country that does not achieve it social protection is unable to achieve the Millennium Development Goal. He said, therefore it was paramount for Sierra Leone to gain in this direction. He further said for example that the Social Protection Bill, that is currently in Parliament if pass into law will yield development along as the people are well informed by the professional national organizations that were participating in the workshop.
He maintained that, after the workshop, professional national participants of the networking on Social Protection will work concertedly to meet the demands and needs of the populace. Rev. Dr. Augustine Lansana disclosed that, the Right to Social Protection emerged in 2006 in Africa. According to him, in that year 13 African countries represented by over one hundred delegates assembled in Zambia and agreed on the Livingstone Declaration. He said, later the Africa Union endorsed the document and declared that Social Protection was a basic Human Right.
|The Facilitator giving a comprehensive presentation to professional national NGO’s at the Conference
He noted therefore, ‘Social Protection refers to an essential public services aimed at helping the citizens cope with risk, vulnerability and hunger’ adding that it was an obligation that the government must honor and something that citizens can legitimately demand.
In his presentations, the facilitator, Mohamed Sidie Sheriff who doubles as World Bank representative said social Protection was a human rights concern and should be given the utmost priorities.
He related the issue of Social Protection as a fundamental interest of the citizens to the theory of Thomas Hub. According to him, this theory states that, the government\state goes into an unwritten agreement with the people at all times.
|The Facilitator explaining to participants how to conduct advocacy on social protection
He said, in that context the citizen’s performing their own responsibilities and on the other side the state fulfills its own duties.
He maintained that if each and every party equally performs, peace, stability and development will be achieved but if either withdraws it contributions, there will be anarchy or state collapse.
He maintained that this Social Protection supersedes this whole theory.
The facilitator went on to explain how advocacy can be conducted to achieve Social Protection. He said, there were many skills acquired to conduct advocacy.
According to him, research was very important in propagating advocacy. He said, advocacy required and extensive activities to raise the profile of an issue from dormancy, trivial to prominence, essential as well as awareness. He also informed that advocacy can lead to reforms, developments and positive change.
Further the World Bank representative comprehensively discussed the importance of monitoring and evaluation and how it can be used in project or advocacy.
He said, for example, in monitoring, one uses indicators while in evaluation a person applies comparators.
In an exclusive interview with Mrs. Melrose Colay, participant, representing a non-governmental Organization, Initiative for Changing Lives for Ultimate Disability Empowerment ( INCLUDE), said, the TRAINING was interesting, that she was able to grasped enough knowledge about social protection and how it can help the vulnerable people in society. Other participants made similar pronouncement.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.