Empowering communities to unite for justice & strive for peace

At NMDHR, we promote Human Rights and Governance issues through training, dialogue, advocacy, lobby and campaigns to change the mindset of the people and increase people’s participation in governance so that development and peace can take place.

Our Initiatives

Election Observation

The Network Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (NMDHR) has been instrumental in election interventions in Sierra Leone, serving as a key member of the National Elections Watch (NEW) and the coordinating organization for the western urban district. Since 2007, NMDHR has significantly contributed to the electoral process by recruiting, training, and deploying over 8000 local observers. Collaborating with numerous local groups and civil society organizations (CSOs), NMDHR has actively empowered citizens to exercise their voting rights in a free and fair manner. Additionally, NMDHR has been a staunch advocate for human rights protection and the advancement of democratic principles, playing a crucial role in fostering transparent and inclusive electoral processes throughout Sierra Leone.

Success Story: Impact on Electoral Transparency & Voter Trust

NMDHR is the coordinating organization for Freetown (Western Area Urban) under our broader coalition, the National Elections Watch. Since 2007, NMDHR has trained and deployed 8,000 domestic election observers, extending our reach to 5 cities, 16 district councils, and 190 chiefdoms. We know that voters have trust in our presence. One woman summed up the sentiment we’ve heard many times: “I only go to the polling station when I see the people in the election observation t-shirts.” In the 2023 elections, the election observers were at 11,000 polling stations and 3,000 polling centers. Despite encountering funding constraints, we persevered to maintain a robust presence, although it represented only half of our previous reach. These constraints posed challenges to voters’ trust in the safety and efficacy of their polling locations. Nevertheless, our continued dedication and the unwavering trust of voters are testaments to our success. As we reflect on our journey, we remain committed to upholding transparency, integrity, and democracy in electoral processes across Sierra Leone.

Women’s Empowerment

The Network Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (NMDHR) has been pivotal in spearheading women empowerment interventions in Sierra Leone, employing a multifaceted approach to address gender disparities and promote women’s rights. Through various programs and initiatives, NMDHR has provided education, skills training, and economic opportunities to empower women economically and socially across its six operational districts. Additionally, NMDHR has advocated for policy reforms and legal protections to combat gender-based violence and discrimination, while also promoting women’s participation in decision-making processes at all levels of governance and society. By amplifying the voices of women, challenging societal norms, and fostering supportive networks, NMDHR has played a crucial role in advancing gender equality and creating pathways for women’s full participation and leadership in Sierra Leonean society.

Success Story: Financial and Education Support for Girls During Early and Unwanted Pregnancy

Recognizing the significance of addressing women’s sexual reproductive rights as a vital aspect of empowerment, we take action. Too often, young girls find themselves pregnant and ostracized by their families, hearing hurtful statements like ‘you are not my child, you are now a mother.’ In response, we provide these girls with training in income generation activities and equip them with start-up kits, fostering financial independence. Additionally, for those who desire to continue their education, we offer comprehensive back-to-school support, ensuring that they have the resources and encouragement needed to pursue their academic aspirations. By addressing the multifaceted challenges faced by women and girls, from political participation to sexual reproductive rights, we are actively working towards creating a more equitable and empowered society. Through our holistic approach, we aim to uplift and support women at every stage of their journey towards self-determination and fulfillment.

Grassroots Justice

NMDHR spearheaded a grassroots justice intervention leveraging community engagement and local partnerships to address human rights violations and promote democratic principles. Through collaborative efforts with local leaders, activists, and residents, NMDHR facilitated access to justice mechanisms, provided legal aid services (Paralegal approach), and conducted awareness campaigns to empower marginalized communities. By amplifying the voices of the disenfranchised and advocating for their rights, NMDHR not only fostered a culture of accountability but also catalyzed sustainable change at the grassroots level, enhancing the protection of human rights and promoting democratic values across Sierra Leone.

Success Story: How Theresa’s Intervention Changed Vaccine Access

In Sierra Leone, certain immunizations are supposed to be freely provided at the local level. However, some health workers were requesting people to bring a cup or two of rice before they or their child could receive the vaccine. NMDHR-trained community paralegals, such as Theresa, are actively educating people about this issue. One day, Theresa confronted a health worker, asking, “Why are you charging people rice for something that is their right?” The health worker responded, saying, “Are you from Freetown? Only people from Freetown seem to know their rights.” Concerned about this injustice, Theresa intervened, stating, “We don’t want to create a vacuum in Freetown. Instead of reporting you to the police, could you please return the rice to all the people you’ve taken it from?” The rice was indeed returned. It’s essential for people to know that immunization is their right, accessible for free. Thanks to NMDHR, community paralegals are advocating for good governance and educating people about their rights. This grassroots justice initiative promotes peaceful resolutions and empowers communities to access what rightfully belongs to them.

Social and Health Accountability

NMDHR has implemented a comprehensive social and health accountability intervention focusing on improving access to essential services and promoting accountability mechanisms within 180 communities Sierra Leone. By mobilizing grassroots networks and forging partnerships with local health authorities and civil society organizations, NMDHR has facilitated community-led initiatives aimed at enhancing healthcare delivery, ensuring transparency, and addressing systemic challenges. Through advocacy, capacity building, and monitoring activities, NMDHR has empowered community members especially Facility Management Committees (FMCs) and Village Development Committees (VDCs) to actively participate in decision-making processes, hold service providers accountable, and advocate for their right to quality healthcare services. As a result, the intervention not only improved health outcomes but also fostered a culture of transparency, responsiveness, and citizen engagement in the six operational districts.

Success Story: Community-Led Path to Transparent Healthcare Delivery

When our last administration promised free healthcare for specific groups, including children under 5 and pregnant women, the government dispatched medicine delivery trucks into communities. However, suspicions arose when community members weren’t sure they were receiving all the medicine they needed. To address this lack of trust between the community and healthcare workers, NMDHR brought them together. In this gathering, the community agreed to provide lodging support to the healthcare workers, while healthcare workers committed to showing the medicine to the community upon delivery to enhance transparency. Simultaneously, NMDHR worked on accountability: together with partners, we intercepted a government medical truck en route across the border, as some individuals planned to sell the medicine to a private clinic. Now, community members can monitor the situation themselves, holding the responsibility in their own hands. They’ve also learned how to advocate constructively for their rights.

Maintenance & Family Mediation

The Network Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (NMDHR) has undertaken a significant role in addressing maintenance issues between marital couples, intimate partners, family members, and cases of women and child abandonment. Through various initiatives and programs, NMDHR has provided mediation services, legal assistance, and community support to over 800 direct beneficiaries resolve conflicts and ensure the financial and emotional well-being of affected individuals and families across its six operational district. By advocating for the rights of women and children and promoting gender equality, NMDHR strives to create awareness and change attitudes towards responsible relationships and parental obligations, thereby fostering healthier and more supportive environments within communities in Sierra Leone.

Success Story: Success Story: Fatou and Abdul’s Journey for a Healthier Marriage

When Fatou* approached NMDHR with her concerns about her husband, Abdul*, we recognized an opportunity to assist. “He doesn’t provide any of his earnings for the family’s needs. I struggle to buy food,” she confided. “And if I speak up, he threatens violence.” We immediately began working with Fatou to empower her with knowledge of her rights as a woman and wife. Concurrently, we invited Abdul to our office, where we educated him on the legal obligations husbands have in supporting their families. Through a series of workshops and mediation sessions, we facilitate open dialogue between couples like Fatou and Abdul. These efforts have yielded positive results, with women reporting improved relationships and a newfound sense of empowerment after engaging in mediation with their husbands. This underscores the transformative power of education and dialogue in nurturing healthier marriages and building more resilient communities.

*names changed/composite story for privacy and safety

Current Locations

  • HQ: Freetown
  • Bombali
  • Falaba
  • Kailahun
  • Kambia
  • Karene
  • Koinadugu
  • Port Loko
  • Pujehun
  • Tonkoli
  • Western Area Rural
  • Western Area Urban

Current & Recent Projects