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Solidaridad, Trust Africa train CSOs on RECLAIM Sustainability Programme

Cross-section of CSOs and representatives from SWA and TA

Solidaridad West Africa (SWA) in partnership with Trust Africa (TA) has ended a five-day intensive capacity-building workshop themed “Strengthening the Advocacy Capacity and Voice for Inclusive and Sustainable Supply Chains and Trade in Cocoa and Palm Oil,”

The workshop, which was held last week in Kenema, East of Sierra Leone, attracted representatives from the Centre of Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL), National Association of Farmers in Sierra Leone, Women in the Media, WISE Africa, SEND Sierra Leone, and representatives from other civil society organizations.

Welcoming the participants, Programme Manager Equitable Development at Trust Africa, Bethule Nyamambi, said the workshop is aimed at strengthening the capacity of the local CSOs to enhance their skills, knowledge, and voice to advocate for the rights of women through inclusive dialogues.

 “This workshop will contribute to sustainable Palm oil and Cocoa production and trade and the resilient livelihoods of those in the value chains, especially women and small-scale farmers.”

Bethule Nyamambi said that the workshop will enable CSO representatives in Sierra Leone to advocate through inclusive dialogue: to influence agendas and develop evidence-based solutions to address socio-economic and environmental gaps in value chains.

“Policies that are developed from top-to-bottom approach are not effectively implemented due to the lack of involvement of the local communities”, Programme Coordinator, Seth KanKam Noamah.

This means when Smallholder farmers, whose livelihoods are affected and influenced by policies are not properly consulted in policy formulation and decision-making processes, the policy becomes ineffective.”

 Solidaridad and partners through the RECLAIM Sustainability! The programme will use innovative approaches to strengthen producer groups in the cocoa and oil palm supply chain and create or open civic spaces for the voices of farmers, workers and citizens to be heard in decision-making. 

Programme Manager for the RECLAIM Sustainability at Solidaridad West Africa, Sierra Leone, Andrew Kojo Morrison, said access and ownership of land by women in cocoa and oil palm are serious challenges. Therefore, he said the training is relevant to the work of CSOs, as it will help them to advocate for the rights of women, and will address the challenges facing them.

However, he encouraged CSOs to engage and sensitize women about Sierra Leone’s Cocoa Policy, the Gender Empowerment Bill and other relevant bills, that will help women to understand better what their rights are, so they can advocate.

“Until we set the agenda to sensitize and empower women and youths, we can’t go anywhere,” the Programme Manager said. 

He said (SWA) is working collaboratively with farmers; CSOs and key stakeholders to ensure that the objective of this programme is achieved.

Two consortium partners implement the Reclaim Sustainability Program in West Africa in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Sierra Leone: Trust Africa Foundation (TA) and Solidaridad West Africa (SWA). The project is a five-year program spanning 2021 to 2025, aiming to contribute to inclusive and sustainable production and trade of Oil Palm and Cocoa.

With this mandate, Trust Africa and Solidaridad West Africa are working with local civil society organizations, including farmer associations, the private sector, and the public sector in the Palm oil and cocoa sectors, to advocate for inclusive dialogue, and amplify voices and* accelerate disruptive business solutions and innovations.

The workshop climaxed with another training for women in Cocoa and Oil palm to enhance their skills, knowledge, and voice to advocate through inclusive dialogue, amplify their voices and accelerate the adoption and use of innovations that will benefit them.

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