Sierra Leone Background
Sierra Leone is a Western African country endowed with abundant natural resources. Yet since the 1990s, the UN has rated the country as one of the world’s most underdeveloped countries. From 1991 – 2002, the country experienced one of the most horrific, violent conflicts in West Africa in recent times.
Over fifty thousand people were brutally killed, half a million lived as refugees, and about two million were internally displaced. Rural and urban infrastructure was also destroyed. The fragile peace environment in West Africa in recent decades has hindered the region’s ability to realize its socio-economic, cultural, and political potentials. Citizens of this region are mobilizing their human and non-human assets and capacities to build local and global constituencies that enhance social transformation, political stability.
In 1992, Dr. Thomas Mark Turay and Mrs. Mary Hawa Turay founded the Centre for Development and Peace Education (cdpeace), formerly known as the People’s Animation Centre (Peace) as a registered not-for-profit, non-governmental organization. The primary function of this rural, community-based development centre has been to enhance the capacity of its learning partners to build sustainable cultures of peace, non-violence, justice, self-reliance, participatory governance, and human security both locally and globally.
In collaboration with agencies including the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, African Development Foundation, Partners in Adult Education, Caritas Makeni, and the Association for Rural Development, cdpeace has enabled over 300 learning partners from community-based organizations and local NGOs, international institutions, organizations, and individuals, to collaborate and engage in community-centered development, leadership, and peace building. In 1998, cdpeace ceased its operations due to the destruction by the rebels of its office at Teko Road, Makeni which was also the home of co-founders Thomas and Mary. View Pictures.
While studying in Canada, the founders organized Peace Education presentations, workshops, and talks about the need for a joint effort and support to rebuild their beloved country Sierra Leone which was torn apart by the 11 years of war and their vision to establish a Peace Education Centre to promote education in rural Sierra Leone. The founders invested their resources and time to mobilize the local communities in Paki–Masabong and Gbonkolenken Chiefdoms, international organizations, institutions, and individuals to work together.
In 2002, the community of Mayagba Village, in Paki-Masabong Chiefdom, donated 23 acres of land to the founders where they are now constructing the Centre for Development and Peace Education. View Pictures.
In 2004, cdpeace was revived. From its rural headquarter at Mayagba, cdpeace has opened its doors to many local and international organizations and individuals to collaborate in its work and is now internationally recognized for:
- Facilitating Peace Education Training and Workshops
- Developing networking relationships among peaceful schools and communities in Sierra Leone and Canada
- Providing support to organize and implement programs in Community Development, Community Health, and Peace Education Programs in rural Sierra Leone
cdpeace is soliciting local and international support to live its dreams to build the Centre for Development and Peace Education.
Vision / Mission / Goals
cdpeace envisions a peaceful, non-violent, just, and sustainable world.
Through capacity enhancement of peace educators, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, private sector, bi-lateral and multi-lateral institutions, and corporations, cdpeace nurtures local and global cultures of peace, non-violence, and planetary sustainability.
cdpeace’s learning partners will enhance their capacity to:
- Live peacefully and non-violently
- Facilitate citizens’ education for peace, non-violence, and human rights
- Build cultures of peaceful schools and communities
- Nurture principles, values, and practices of a culture of peace and sustainable community-centred development in their education and development programs
- Collaborate with non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and private institutions committed to the alleviation of rural/urban poverty in their societies
- Build local and global partnerships and knowledge networks for the promotion of socio-economic, environmental, and cultural justice
- Promote life-long learning
- Integrate indigenous knowledge and practices into development approaches
- Promote sustainable participatory governance