Initiatives for Community Development – Sierra Leone (ICOD-SL) is a national civil society and advocacy organisation established in 2000. It was founded by a group of volunteers after 11 years of conflict to advocate for and facilitate community participation in issues that affects their lives.
ICOD-SL works with grassroots communities in Bonthe and Moyamba Districts in the southern region of Sierra Leone, focusing on empowering people and communities to build a free, just and democratic Sierra Leone where there is respect for human rights and participation for sustainable development.
ICOD’s peacebuilding work includes:
- In 2007, prior to the general elections, carrying out a District Level Consultations and Leadership Audit in the Bonthe District. This targeted stakeholders including Members of Parliament, Counsellors, Local Authorities, CSOs, heads of MDAs, SLP, Local Court Chairmen, Inter-Religious Council representatives, Society Heads, Political Party representatives, Youth and Women’s group representatives. The process included training on governance, human rights, civic education, elections, democracy, peacebuilding and development. Political parties presented their manifestos, and pledged to work for peaceful conduct during the electoral processes. Peace monitoring teams were formed to ensure compliance.
- Carrying out training of community members on alternative dispute resolution and peacebuilding. This has led to the creation of Peace Committees.
- Carrying out civic education campaigns at district and local levels by training community teams, roadshows, media outreach (radio, community theatre and folk media) targeting 15,000 people.
- In collaboration with the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) and the West African Network for Peacebuilding, carrying out psychosocial counselling of war victims in the Bonthe District. This project targeted about 3,000 people.
- As a member of the Local Policing Partnership Board (LPPB) successfully carrying out dispute resolution between communities, and working on inter-religious strife and police-community-student relations.
- Working on family tracing and re-unification with war-affected children.
The impact of ICOD's work includes:
- Increasing political tolerance as exhibited by peaceful electoral processes since 2004 to date.
- Increase in use of local peacebuilding bodies in handling local conflict
- Increased tolerance among people and communities.
- Reduction in reports of open conflict. Successive Local Unit Commanders (LUC) of the “Bonthe Division” state that outside the mining communities, Bonthe District is the most law abiding district in the entire country.
- As a member of the Local Policing Partnership Board (LPPB), ICOD has helped improve SLP – Civil relations to the status of not only peaceful co-existence but co-operation on several issues of law and order in communities.