For Peaceful Election in Sierra Leone (CIPE-SL) signs six-month Civil Society Elections Agreement with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in support of the June 2023 Election in Sierra Leone


The Coalition for Inclusive and Peaceful Election in Sierra Leone (CIPE-SL) – consisting of Talking Drum Studio – Sierra Leone (TDS-SL), the Independent Radio Network (IRN) and the Sierra Leone Association of Journalist (SLAJ) – on Tuesday
21st February 2023, signed a grant agreement with the FCDO (with UK aid funding) titled ‘Promoting Democracy and Electoral Freedom in Sierra Leone’ (ProDEF – SL). This is a six months’ peace promotion and voter education intervention in eight of the sixteen administrative and political districts of Sierra Leone, which aims to support ‘cross community and political interest dialogue for peaceful and violence-free elections’ in June 2023. It leverages coalition partners’ experience in delivering similar interventions in electoral processes, established community-level presence across the country, and extensive track record in community level peace promotion, as well as elections media programming.

The project will: (1) promote peaceful electoral engagement through platforms for cross party and community dialogue and debate, (2) enhance inclusive and meaningful participation of women, young people, and persons with disability in the electoral process: and (3) increase the availability of trusted public interest information on democratic rights and responsibilities of citizens in the electoral and governance processes

Speaking after the signing process, British High Commission Deputy Development Director Ursula Antwi-Boasiako expressed the UK’s commitment to supporting the governance and electoral space in Sierra Leone, especially the role of civil society in promoting peaceful elections and holding government to account. She said. “Drawing on the UK’s longstanding relationship with Sierra Leone, we are happy to continue to support inclusive and democratic governance through peaceful and trusted electoral processes. It is our hope that the combined experience of the three national civil society organisations will contribute to peaceful electoral engagement that includes all voices, including women and persons with disabilities, but also holds those in power to account.”

In his statement, the National Director of Talking Drum Studio (the successor organisation to Search for Common Ground) whose organisation signed the grant agreement on behalf of the coalition submitted that, “The UK is a trusted partner to the government and people of Sierra Leone. In 2018, the Standing Together for Democracy Consortium (also funded by UK aid) led the civil society election promotion and engagement initiative and organised the first ever successful presidential debate in Sierra Leone. We are extremely pleased that, though in smaller scale, this grant will bring together our collective experiences and local presence as national civil society organisations to promote peaceful and inclusive elections in 2023 as we did in 2018.”

The project will be formally launched later this month by the British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, H. E Lisa Cheney, MBE. Implementation will be led by the CIPE-SL consortium through a combination of community-led peace promotion interventions and media programming for voter education (with a cross cutting theme on inclusion embedded throughout). The programme will directly reach an estimated 300,000 registered voters (representing about 20% of all registered voters in the eight project districts), including at least 50% youth, women and PWDs, as well as key elections and democratic institutions, and security and peace promotion institutions. Indirectly, the project will reach an estimated 3,000,000 Sierra Leoneans (approximately 70% of the adult population and over 80% of the registered voters across the country), through media programming led by TDS-SL and IN’s network of over 50 partner radio stations dotted across the country.

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