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Sierra Leone ; Evaluation

In 2010 external evaluations were conducted in twelve communities to assess the results of War Child’s Community Based Program and Pikin Bisniss program*. The main purpose of the community evaluations is to get input from children, youth and adults about the achievements made so far and to make future plans. The following were indicated by community members in each location:
•  improvement in the interaction and peaceful coexistence between youth and adults;
•  a positive impact of livelihood activities: youth were better able to solve disputes peacefully, better family relations, improved writing and mathematics skills, the ability to generate income and improve farming yields;
•  enormous progress in awareness and support of children: for the first time in the history of Sierra Leone a district council (Port Loko) has allocated funds for the establishment and strengthening of child protection structures.;

Based on the findings War Child will:
•  strengthen the CYSS to further promote child right issues
•  link the CYSS to the Child Welfare Committees which are officially recognized to deal with abuse cases while the CYSS helps address child abuse cases thus helping to reduce the frequency of child abuse.

* The Community Based Program restores social structures that promote united efforts to enlarge the protection and support for children and youth. These communities play an active role in sensitization, education and advocacy on children’s rights. The Pikin Bisniss program focuses on advocacy for structural improvements in legislation and policies with regard to children’s rights. The capacity of government structures and other NGO’s is built to improve their protection of children.

Celebrations and events
War Child celebrated six international days such as the Day of the African Child and the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting, with many child-led activities:
•  Performing for Peace: a cast of children performed a drama of their life stories for their parents, chiefs and councillors. After the performance the children asked for commitments from policy makers, very unusual in their culture and tradition;
•  A photo exhibition was made by children which was seen by 630 adults, 670 young people and 910 children. Children from the Netherlands exchanged their experiences about child rights issues via web cam. The exchange led to a unique exhibition by Dutch children using art work from children in Sierra Leone;
•  Two DJs from Dutch radio station 538 gave a radio master class on interview skills for 40 children, which they then used in child-led radio programs during which they interviewed adults and asked for commitments to child welfare.

For the first time in the history of the communities in which War Child works children, youth and adults (including chiefs) took part in sports days. With singing and dancing using traditional musical instruments the communities grew closer and helped to fight discrimination of, for example, dumb and deaf children.

Lessons learned

Trainings initially planned for two INGOs did not take place since their programs changed repeatedly. War Child changed its approach prior to the annual activity plan to learn which activities are viewed as useful and feasible by partners.