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July, 2011

JSDP wins British Council Staff Award (Virtual Award) 2011

JSDP has won the British Council 2011 staff team awards – this is an annual event involving British Council worldwide whereby recognition is given to teams that make a significant impact upon cultural relations. There were 39 entries in the Cultural Relations Achievement category of the Staff Awards. 'This is a fantastic achievement and I want to say a heart-felt thank you to all of you for the work that you have personally done to make JSDP such a success – this really is a fantastic achievement – we were up against a huge challenge from so many teams all across the world. The team that organised the highly successful Chinese Expo that quite literally millions of people attended were the runners up – that must give you an idea of the stiff competition we were up against – to win against that team is truly awesome – so well done of you!' Peter Viner wrote to colleagues on hearing the announcement yesterday.

The Virtual Awards Ceremony took  the form of an interactive global webinar open to all members of staff and happened on Monday 11 July at 12:00 UK-time.

Momo Turay (Research, Information and M & E Adviser) in receiving the award onbehalf of JSDP.said '“All the members of the team are immensely proud for our work to have been recognised in this way. The aim of our programme is to improve access to justice and our motto is quite simple; “Justice for All”.  One of the underlying causes to the long civil war was the lack of an effective and accountable justice system in our country;poor and marginalised people could not access justice and virtually no-one in conflict with the law could get legal representation. Working with the government of Sierra Leone we have been able to make a real difference to the lives of so many people in Sierra Leone by restoring their human rights.”

There was joyous mood among staff in the office yesterday as the news came by and some openly said this was a good motivation for them all.

JSDP conducts training for Judiciary and other stakeholders in 'Age Assessment Guidelines'

On the 3rd and 4th June 2011 Judges, Magistrates, Prosecutors and other key stakeholders had a training session to empower them in acquiring the requisite knowledge and skills in determining the age of children through informal methods of evidence collection on age This has been necessitated due to the fact that formal documentation, such as birth registration are unavailable and coupled with the fact that incorrect ages have been entered in the files of cases of children in conflict with the law.

The Age Assessment Guidelines was developed to ensure that children entering the justice system have their ages determined by stakeholders, have access to fair and speedy trials  and are treated in a manner that fully respects their age and level of maturity, and that institutions and systems are developed to work in the best interests of the child.

The Chief Justice Umu Hawa Tejan-Jalloh opened the training workshop and had this to say “Now that the judiciary has accepted the use of the guidelines it is a priority that the judiciary and other stakeholders are trained in the implementation of the guidelines”

Justice Julia Sarkode-Mensa; Consultant Master and Registrar who is one of the facilitators stated that “the use of the guidelines will ensure fair, speedy trials and adequate care and protection provided for children in conflict with the law according to their age and  level of maturity” Other facilitators were Justice Eku Roberts and Magitrste JO Wellington of the judiciary whilst Assistant Superintendents of Police Joseph Vandi and Fatmata Jebeh Daboh of the Sierra Leone Police

Vice Presiden t Alhaji Chief Sam Sumana launched Public Persption Survey on Corruption in Sierra Leone 2010

Vice President Alhaji Chief Sam Sumana on the 4th of April launched the Public Perception Survey on Sierra Leone 2010 at the British Council Hall, Freetown.

The survey is the first comprehensive baseline study exclusively on corruption that was done jointly with the Justice Sector Coordination Office (JSCO) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Chairman of the ocassion Emile Carr who is also vice-chair of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) said it took a very long period to get such a consultative and important study that is very necessary for the smooth running of the institution to be done. He stressed that people have to venture out before they can discover the unknown and he is convinced it is a bold step the ACC has taken in soliciting the views of the public for the fight against corruption.

Desmond Johnson (Director of Public Education) of ACC presented an overview of the key findings of the survey report.

In her statement, the JSCO Coordinator Olayinka Creighton-Randall highlighted JSCO's role in justice sector reform and stressed the importance of data and information in order for planing, policy formulation and decision making be based on research. She challenged other justice sector Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to embark on data and information generation for public consumption. Olayinka assured the justice sector institutions and development partners of JSCO readiness to support them in that regard.

ACC boss, Joseph F. Kamara in his statement praised the public for their support (reports and suggestions towards ACC work), the political will from the government and contributions from development partners. Mr. Kamara informed the gathering of the successes ACC has made locally and the international recognitions the country continue to  received in its fight against corruption. In conclusion, he asked the various stakeholders to reflect on the findings of the survey and utilise them positively so that together they can all put up a unified fight against corruption in Sierra Leone.

Vice President Sam Sumana in launching the report assured the public of government's committment in governance reform as outlined in the 'Agenda for Change' and their determination to fight corruption which is a menace standing in the way of  third world countries development.

The programme attracted some donors, ministers, members of Parliament, Paramount chiefs, religious leaders, civil society representatives and members of the press. Ibrahim Kargbo of the ACC moved the vote of thanks.

JSDP supports Correctional Centres Managers Training for Prisons and Senior Management Command Course for Sierra Leone Police

25 'Officers in Charge' and Deputies of Correctional Centres completed a six-day training programme to introduce new management and records systems in the Correctional Services The training, conducted at the Prisons Training School at Waterloo, was coordinated by the Director of Corporate Services of Sierra Leone Prisons, Mr Charles L. N’gobeh. The Correctional Services Management and Standard Operational Procedures were launched at the training and copies distributed to all participants. Subjects covered in the training included New Guidelines on Reception and Processing Convicted and Remand Inmates, Security and Inmate Management. Special sessions were held on Leadership in Change, Managing Change and Change Models in Reform to prepare and assist the officers introduce the new procedures that have been approved.

In a related development, the final Senior Management Command Course for 100 Officers of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) is ongoing at the Police Training School in Hstings and will be completed on the 4th of March 2011. This training will bring to a close the planned training  for senior managers of the SLP under the overall JSDP development package for the SLP.

Community Mediation Programme of JSDP holds Stakeholders Review Meeting

Timap for Justice with Support from the Justice Sector Development Programme (JSDP), hosted a Review Meeting on the Community Mediation Programme (CMP), on Tuesday 25th January 2011, at the British Council Tower Hill, Freetown.

Janice Drewe, Acting Programme Manager of JSDP welcomed guests and paid tribute to DFID for supporting JSDP.

Judges, Magistrates, and other legal service providers, Paramount Chiefs; and representatives from the Sierra Leone Police, the Prisons Service, UN Agencies, NGOs and Civil Society graced the occasion.

Presentations made (Timap-Nancy Sesay, John P. Bangura and Simeon Koroma and PASI Brenda Brainch and Clifford Msiska) at the ceremony covered, the Community Mediation Programme (CMP) as a viable model in the current international   discourse on Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms; its effectiveness in resolving disputes at the community level; and how it complements the formal legal system.

The Government of Sierra Leone’s Justice Sector Reform Strategy, estimates that the formal justice system is inaccessible to approximately 70% of the population which uses Local Courts and other Customary Law resolution mechanisms. Most of these mechanisms are discriminatory, particularly against youths, women and children.

The CMP is supported by JSDP and implemented by Timap for Justice. It started in August 2009 and ran up to December 2010, focusing on the resolution of disputes at community level, through mediation. The CMP is a model of mediation first established in Africa by the Paralegal Advisory Services Institute Institute (PASI) in Malawi, as the Village Mediation Programme (VMP).

The goal of mediation is not just to stop a problem but to achieve reconciliation through a process which entails addressing the parties’ interests and needs; and seeking settlement through mutual agreement. The objectives of the CMP include, building the capacity of communities to resolve their day-to-day disputes, thereby minimising the risk of civil disputes becoming criminalized and minor offences escalating into serious crimes. Common issues addressed include domestic violence, child abandonment, police abuse, economic exploitation and abuse of traditional authority.

The project was piloted in 4 chiefdoms within the Northern (Bombali District) and Southern (Bo) Provinces, where the CMP trained a total of 300 community-based mediators. Their responsibilities include, mediating family disputes, and minor criminal offenses in their respective villages. Since CMP’s inception close to 2,000 cases have been successfully mediated.

The skills transferred through the CMP, will empower communities to provide approachable, culturally acceptable, quick, inexpensive and effective ways to access justice and, in turn, reduce the caseloads of the formal justice institutions which, in Sierra Leone, include the local courts.

The Community Mediation Programme demonstrates the adapting of the project towards Sierra Leone’s dualist legal structure, while engaging and seeking to improve both the formal and customary institutions.

The key note speaker was Justice Aiah Konoyima who dilated on his long affiliation with programme and stressed the relevance of mediation in the administration of justice and its accessibility

Africanus S. Sesay chaired the programme.

Judiciary opens and dedicates the newly constructed Pademba Road Magistrates court in Freetown

The judiciary opened and dedicated the newly constructed magistrates court on the 9th of Decemeber 2010.

The ceremony climaxed the opening and dedication of two other instituions-the Fast track Commercial Court and the Judicial and Legal Training Institue that happened in the morning hours of the same day.

Welcoming the dignitaries, the Chief Justice Umu  Hawa Tejan-Jalloh paid tribute to DFID for providing the funds through the Justice Sector Development Programme. The construction happened under eighteen months. She informed the gathering that the court is the first to built in Freetown in over one hundred years ( jokingly put 'in our lifetime').

A statement form JSDP was made by Janice Drewe who spoke on behalf of Peter Viner (JSDP Programme Manager). She highlighted the crucial issues especially delays in the administration and dispensation of justice that affects majority of the population in accessing justice. JSDP's motto is 'justice for all' and as such it strives to improve access to justice especially for the poor, marginalised and vulnerable group. Janice acknowledged the tremendous support received from the judiciary especially the Chief Justce and the Consultant Master and Registrar Julia Sarkodie Mensah for  their greater involvement in the implementation of the project. Tribute was also paid to JSDP staff especially Henry Vaag and the late Fasalie Koroma who managed the Infrastructure component of JSDP for their commitment and dedication to the successful completion of the court building project. Janice in conclusion, handed over two sets of keys ( to the building and a brand new peugeot car for the magistrate of the juvenile court) to the honourable Chief Justice.

Vice preseident Alhaji Sam Sumana, Chair of the Leadership Group of the justice sector who gave the keynote address on behalf of president Ernest Bai Koroma thanked DFID for providing the necessary funds in reforming the justice sector and other sectors of the country. 'Indeed, DFID has demonstrated that it is a reliable and dependable partner in Sierra Leone's development strides'. he said. VP stressed the government of Sierra Leone's determination in ensuring that all development projects are successfully concluded. This is what they promised during their campaign to the people and are working honestly and deligently towards fulfilling it.

The Pademba Magistrates' Court comprises of three court rooms including a dedicated child-friendly court for juvenile issues. In addition there are rooms for mediation, library and administrative offices for judicial and judicial support staff. A bore hole is provided within the premises to ameliorate acute water supply problem

Consultant Master and Registrar, Julia Sarkodie Mensah -master of ceremony after a guided tour of the premises, compared the building of the court to the story of Abraham in the Bible. She said  it took Abraham  over 100 years to get a child as it also took Freetown about the same period to get a new court building, she was convinced that the blessing of Abraham will surely be with the people of Sierra Leone.

JSCO conducts M & E training for TWG members

Members of the TWG of JSRSIP 2008-2010 comprising of middle managers of the justice Sector MDAs and civil society benefited from a series of training workshop on Monitoring and Evaluation.

One of the key role of the TWG is to monitor the implementation of the JSRSIP 2008-2010 and as such mebers need to be up to the task.

JSCO supported this exercise in order to enhace the conduct of M & E of the JSRSIP in particular and the MDAs in general.

The content of the package incuded understanding basic concepts, definition of M & E terminologies, designing indicators among others.

TWG members appreciated the training as feedback from most of the participants regarded the training as timely and useful for their work especially when governance these days is inclined towards performance and evidence base reporting.

The training was designed in four phases which started in Spetember and finished in October.

ADRA Consultancy facilitated the training.

Fasalie Koroma, Infrastructure Component Manager dies

The Infrastructure Component manager, Fasalie Koroma died on the 26th July 2010 at a hospital in Accra,Ghana.

Fasalie managed JSDP's Infrastructure projects (Prison Officers Quarters inMagbauraka, Bonthe Prisons, the new magistrates Courts on Pademba Raod and Cline Town among others) from January 2008 to date.

Fasalie  sadly passed away on the 26th of July after a brief illness

In breaking the news to colleagues, Peter Viner, JSDP Programme Manager stated 'A very sad day for JSDP, we are the poorer for his passing – he will be sadly missed by us all'. As the news broke out in the office, the entire atmosphere was infested with solemnity as some colleagues could not help but burst into tears.

He will be buried in his home town of Bunbuna on the 8th August, 2010.

May his soul rest in perfect peace.

Native Administration Police (N.A. Police) Pass out in Moyamba

Eighty eight (88) N.A police pass out in Moyamba on Friday June 4th 2010. This is a pilot project of the JSDP's Local Court project aimed at improving on the service delivery of local courts within the Moyamba District.

Gracing the occasion as guest of honour was the Miniter of Internal Affairs Local Government and Rural Development Ambassador Dauda Kamara. He gave a historic backgrorund and significance of the N.A. police, government's commitment to reformiing chiefdom administration, gratitude to JSDP and congratulated the successful recruits from Moyamba District.

Earlier speakers included Inspector General of Police B. A. Kamara who was very proud of the successful pilot initiative owing to the fact that his institution (SLP) played a significant role  in the training but more important ly because the NA police will provide key support in the security of the chiefdoms thereby lessening the burden on the regular police who will now concentrate on more strategic security issues. Peter Viner of JSDP congratulated thesuccessful N.A. police and wish them well in the discharge of their duties. He paid tribute and recognised the facilitators from the Customary Law Office, the SL Police and Human Rights Commission The JSCO Coordinator thanked JSDP and is keen to receive lessons learnt from the project in guiding her for national roll out  Haja Fatmata Mema Karju Koroma (representative of Paramount chiefs) stated that they are begining to gain full respect as they will now be recognised  whenever they appear in public and for this they are very grateful to JSDP and the government of Sierra Leone.

Abu T. Bangura (male) and Yeama Korgay (female) received prizes from Inspector General of SLP and Peter Viner of JSDP as best recruits whilst alll others received certificates

Climax of the ceremony was the distribution of support equipment including bicycles, batons, hand cuffs, back packs, raincoats and boots for all the recruits. Ledgers were also provided for the fourteen chiefdoms in the district. PC Joseph Kavura Kongomo II moved the vote of thanks and personally appealed to JSDP for such support to be extended nationwide for all chiefdoms to benefit.

There were cultural dances in the township of Moyamba in jubilation for such development and  one resident was so happy said Moyamba has made history again and that he is a very proud son of Moyamba.

The ceremony was chaired by the Chairman of Moyamba District Council-David Woobay PC

Music was provided by the Sierra Leone Police Band which kept the gathering well entertained.

Available job within JSDP/JSCO.


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