Voting for Peace, Survival and Self-reliance

Internally Displaced Women Go to the Polls in Sierra Leone

Authored by: Binta Mansaray

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Migration, Political Transitions
Country: Sierra Leone
Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2002
Citation: Mansaray, Binta. Voting for Peace, Survival and Self-reliance: Internally Displaced Women Go to the Polls in Sierra Leone. New York: Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, 2002.

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The May 14, 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections in Sierra Leone marked a significant milestone in the consolidation of the country’s peace. Cognizant of the role of bad governance in the origins of the 11-year civil war that formally ended in January 2002, the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children’s Protection Partnership office in Sierra Leone encouraged internally displaced women to register and vote for the candidate of their choice. Attention to the participation of uprooted women in decision-making has, in the past, been focussed largely on camp governance and humanitarian assistance. Yet, in order to help sustain Sierra Leone’s peace, internally displaced and returnee women must make free, informed decisions and participate actively at every point along the public-private spectrum of decision-making — from the home to the parliament, from the executive to the United Nations, African Union and other intergovernmental organizations. Voting is one of the most obvious and pivotal meeting places between the private person and the public actor. When a woman casts a free and informed vote, she acknowledges the crucial public role that she can and should play in the future well-being of her society.