The community animation and peace support (CAPS) programme in Sierra Leone encourages communities to work together and build peace through participating in development activities. Since 2000, over 140 communities, representing more than 150,000 people have benefited.
A Red Cross animator is based in a community for an 18-month period to help people restore relationships, through developing activities that are of common need to community members. At the same time, the animator addresses issues and conflicts within and between families, and the community as a whole.
Many of these issues are to do with grudges and suspicions left from the war and involve land issues or tribal authority versus youth issues. Community-wide groups engage in communal farm work, as well as helping out on individual farms, they also rebuild each other’s homes and restore community structures.
The CAPS programme gives each community seeds and tools, construction kits, skills training, livestock and seed money for revolving loan schemes. It also helps restore costumes and instruments for cultural activities of singing, dancing and drama performances. These traditions are important to help with reconciliation and healing.
As a peace animator in Sierra Leone, Mama Ella works with a village to resolve their conflicts peacefully and work together to improve the community.
Read Mama Ella's story