Sierra Leonean Caritas, Regional Peace Entity Partner to Train Violence Incidence Monitors

Caritas Freetown Executive Director Fr. Peter Konteh makes a presentation during the training organized for violence incidence monitors and reporters ahead of Sierra Leone's Saturday, June 24vGeneral elections. Credit: Caritas Freetown Media team

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Caritas Freetown have completed a training aimed at enhancing capacity to monitor and report violence before, during and after the Saturday, June 24 elections in Sierra Leone.

Speaking at the training on June 21, the Executive Director of Caritas Freetown, Fr. Peter Konteh, lauded the initiative, noting that information provided by the trained violence incidence monitors and reporters will be critical in identifying potential violence hotspots.

He said that while elections are a critical aspect of any democratic society, they can also be a source of conflict and violence if not properly managed. 

“It is for this reason that we are here today to enhance our capacity to monitor and report on violence incidents during the upcoming elections,” Fr. Konteh said in his keynote address at the training.

He added, “At Caritas Freetown, we strongly believe that peaceful elections are crucial for the development and stability of our country. We recognize the role that violence incidence monitors and reporters play in ensuring that the elections are free, fair, and peaceful. The information they provide will be critical in identifying potential hotspots and addressing any incidents of violence that may occur.”


Caritas Freetown and CRS facilitated the realization of the June 20-21 training in partnership with the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), described as “a leading Regional Peacebuilding organization founded in 1998 in response to civil wars that plagued West Africa in the 1990s.

The two-day training targeted 75 participants who were drawn from five project districts of Port Loko, Kenema, Bo, and the western area covering Freetown.

Those trained are to be deployed in various polling stations to monitor and report incidences of violence during the electioneering period.  

In his address on the final day of the training, Fr. Konteh who has been vocal about the 2023 elections cautioned Sierra Leoneans against actions that may trigger election-related violence in the country.

“As we prepare for the forthcoming elections in Sierra Leone, we must acknowledge the history of election-related violence in our country. Although the violence has decreased over the years, the potential for conflict still exists, and we must take proactive steps to prevent it from happening again,” he said.

More in Africa

The award-winning member of the Clergy of Freetown Archdiocese, who has expressed the desire to see the June 24 polls bring an end to violence, hatred, and discord expressed optimism that the training would promote a culture of non-violence and peace during the elections, and beyond.

“I therefore urge all participants to take this training seriously and to make the most of this opportunity,” Fr. Konteh told the participants in the training, and added, “You are the eyes and ears on the ground, and your work is critical to ensuring that the forthcoming elections are peaceful and free from violence. Your efforts will help to promote a culture of democracy and peace in Sierra Leone.”

Sierra Leone is preparing for its fifth presidential elections since the end of a brutal 11-year civil war that ended in 2002.

To prepare for a free, transparent and peaceful poll, the Sierra Leonean government has rolled out an elections Security Preparedness Plan throughout the country.

And to enhance national security, Sierra Leone’s Office of National Security (ONS) has established a National Situation Room (NSR), which collects, collates, analyses and processes security information and intelligence to support early warning and early response. 


The NSR reportedly operates on a 24/7 basis and has a toll-free line-119 on all mobile service networks in Sierra Leone.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.