Archive for January, 2010
By: Lansana Juana
Children can be seen as major victim of every conflict in Africa. In this regard, the children in Sierra Leone have been victims of political manipulation and used as an instrument of social violence and destruction. Consequently, the many illiterate youths in the country have turned out to be social miscreants or misfits. They are hooked on drugs, commit robberies, petty thefts, have a lack of respect for elders’, are subject to sexual promiscuity and lots of other social vices. This has become pervasive and therefore a major cause of concern in Sierra Leone and the international community.
In modern times, the poor educational performance, high crime rate, and lack of human rights in the country serve as symbolic pointers to the fact that drug use among youths is a cause of concern to government, international organization and the development partners operating in Sierra Leone.
The use of drugs was the main factor that was responsible for crimes committed by the past fighting forces. All the fighting forces were using children to fight under the influence of drug and alcohol. Mind to kill is the simple word that was used by former child. When they use the word ‘mind’, they often refer to drugs as a tool to kill during the past conflict. Now in the post conflict setting, there are ghettos where you can see these young men and women hanging around looking out for trouble. Some of them still use drugs to get a ‘mind’ to do bad.
Once they are addicted to the use of drugs, and have nothing to do, they run the risk of developing evil thought and involving in petty crimes, which is presently the order of the day in all the bigger towns and cities in Sierra Leone. It is causing a threat to peace and the development process. To sustain peace and provide security for the people living in Sierra Leone, we need to do something about all the ghettos, educate the youths that are there so as to cut down on the use of drugs, and drugs related violence.
NO CIVIL EDUCATION FOR OUR YOUNG PEOPLE IN SIERRA LEONE; WHY…….
In my quiet moments, I sometimes try to make sense of violence perpetrated by young people in the world. Especially in countries like Sierra Leone, young people cause numerous problems. One of the most imperative problems facing youths affected by the post-war conditions in Sierra Leone is the lack of access to specific civil and political tutoring for youths to grow into their civic role and take on responsibility as a citizen. Lack of civic and political education; more importantly the allotment of information regarding duties and farm duties of citizens; prevents youths from obtaining the comprehension to control, improve and contribute meaningfully toward their communities development.
A second predicament for war affected youths is the low literacy level among the youth population. The 10 years civil war denied preponderance of the youths the prospect to grow into leaned and literate adults; most of the present day youths in Sierra Leone are without the capacity to read, write, see if and lucid their judgment about issues affecting their lives.
Lack of civic and political information/knowledge is one of the most important issues affecting Sierra Leone, 70% of the population can neither read nor write. And unfortunately, the Northern and Eastern regions are most affected. This is manifested in the present high rate of civil chaos and political violence among the youth population in that region and the type of economic activities they engage in.
It is now a matter of most; instead of a matter of necessity; to make the first move. Programs that will address the issue of civic responsiveness and political edification for the youths (who are the future leaders). And to improve the quality of life for the youth population by engaging and educating both out of school and in school youths about basic civil rights, duties and responsibilities
The exposure to such information will assist youths to learn why education is important for both themselves and their families. After the civil war, no institution has ever thought of helping the ex-combatants to learn how to take a more active role in civil and political activities in their various communities.
Youths need care and nurture like children; they should be groomed to talk amongst themselves about civic and political issues of the country and their instantaneous communities and the youths also need to be taught how to communicate to their elders about their plans and things like protection against, femininity issues, bribery, good authority, national wherewithal, elections, economy of the state etc. The women are faced with the tedious work of rebuilding their lives and the lives of their families in areas that have been devastated by the civil war. One of the most damaging results for young women and girls was interrupted and/or terminated schooling. This had a devastating effect on the already low literacy rate among women.
The Eastern Region is particularly affected by the war in the sense that the war left very few houses, government buildings, schools and healthcare facilities. Tens of thousands of women and children fled to neighboring countries seeking refuge or were constantly running from one town to the other to escape the war in their own territories.
It is well documented that by improving a youth’s level of education both the physical and psychological health will be positively affected. Furthermore, educating youths about health issues that formerly were classified as “women’s information” allows men the opportunity to become better husbands and fathers while at the same time promoting the status of women.
Perhaps a curriculum of civic responsibilities will provide an immediate campaign in areas where information facilities and their resources are limited. With a complimenting literacy curriculum reinforced learned civic and political knowledge while aiding the men and women in improving their literacy skills and thus, their status in the community.
In addition, we should provide young women and men of the community with an educational program which increases dialogue among community members and households about crucial issues affecting the lives of men, women and children. In turn, dialogue generated by such means will aid the reintegration process of the communities.