This multi stakeholders meeting is another phase of the UNSCAR Blacksmith project . It is a follow-up to the blacksmith training in Alternative Livelihood skills. They were conducted in all the districts where the blacksmith project is implemented .
The main objective of the multi stakeholders forum is to promote cooperation between the stakeholders and the blacksmiths on the one hand, and to promote human security and development through training of blacksmiths in alternative livelihood skills.
Bombali District Friday, 1st June, 2018 at the SLTU Hall, Makeni,
Opening courtesies: Individual prayers were offered followed by self Introduction by participants:
The SLANSA team comprised of : SLANSA staff members, UNSCAR Representative and a hired moderator to moderate the meeting held at SLTU Hall in Makeni City, Bombali District.
The forum targeted informed decision-makers In Bombali District, which included :
Representatives from Anti-Corruption, Office of National Security(ONS), Sierra Leone Police (SLP), Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), City and District Councils, Agriculture, Traditional Rulers, Civil Society and Human Rights Organizations.
Programme over view by Coordinator:
The Coordinataor, Ms. Adenike Cole gave an overview of the programme as follows: Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA) received funding from United Nations Trust Facility Support Cooperation on Arms Regulations (UNSCAR), a survey was carried out in April, 2017 in seven districts (Moyamba, Bo, Kenema, Kailahun, Kono, Bombali and Western Area) report was produced, validated and circulated to all partners. Verification of identified blacksmiths was carried out by the field officers to confirm not only their existence but that they are fully engaged in the blacksmith workshops . Under the training component, 10 blacksmiths were selected from each district for training in the knowledge and understanding of the Arms and Ammunition Act 2012 and Basic skills in Alternative Livelihood.
The multi stakeholders forum according to her was to create a link between the informed decision-makers and the blacksmiths in the districts so as to promote cooperation, human security and development through training on the Arms and Ammunition Act of 2012. She informed the participants that a consultant was hired to moderate the discussion forum. She introduced the UNSCAR representative from New York, Mr. Tak Mashiko, Programme Officer, Conventional Arms Branch
Office of Disarmament Affairs and asked him to make a statement. The coordinator’s overview was replicated in all other districts
Statement by UNSCAR Representative (Tak Mashiko)
Mr. Mashiko appreciated the presence of the stakeholders and expressed gratitude for the kind hospitality accorded him since his arrival in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He said he was impressed with the peaceful atmosphere in the country, ……”Sierra Leone is very , very peaceful”.
The UN representative said that the world is experiencing a high proliferation of small arms and light weapons. He stressed the danger caused by the illicit circulation and transfer of small arms between nations. That the United Nations plan of Action (UNPOA) is the main mechanism applied to combat, control and eradicate the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. The blacksmith alternative livelihood skill training funded by UNSCAR is implemented by SLANSA as a way of intervention in controlling small arms. For the sustainability of the project, he would like to see a strong collaboration between the blacksmiths and the stakeholders in their respective communities even when UNSCAR funding would have phased out. In conclusion, he expressed deep satisfaction with the way SLANSA has handled the project so far.
Multi Stakeholders Discussions on Blacksmiths Alternative Livelihood Skills Training:
The Moderator (Consultant – Mr. Andrew Sheku Coomber) presented the topic of discussion which was: Promoting human security and development through training of blacksmiths vis-à-vis the Arms and Ammunition Acts 2012. In his introduction, Mr Coomber informed the participants about his consulting firm – Network Research Consultancy. He said, his consultancy undertakes research and capacity building, among others. He told the participants that he had been in the blacksmith project with SLANSA from the conception to the present stage.
As a way of starting the discussion, he mapped out the following issues involving blacksmiths and how they would form a link with stakeholders in the promotion of their work;
The Consultant posed a question to the blacksmiths on the challenges they face in their work.
In response, Mr. Samuel Dick, representative of the blacksmiths stated the following issues as challenges:
The Consultant invited responses from the audience on the presentation done by the representative of the blacksmiths.
Abass J. Kamara: asked whether there was need to produce local guns, if yes why?
The ONS representative replied by saying that people made local guns to hunt wide animals that destroy farmers’ Plantations and attack people.
The Sierra Leone Police reported that in 2012 Mongo, Falaba District, a father left a loaded gun in the house which a small child used to kill himself. Also an OSD officer left his gun in the home which his wife used to shoot herself in the leg. So he advised that people should obtain license to produce gun.
Military Intelligence Officer, Lt. J.S. Kamara spoke about the negative effect of short guns sighting example in Kono District, where on the 26th April this year, they discovered a decomposed body of a farmer with a short gun close by him. According to him , everybody is responsible for the break in security, because before now there was no production of guns but now there are lots of stray guns in the hands of people. We also know those who produce guns and as a homogenous community we know ourselves but we do not report incidence of guns. Even the Police arrest people for short guns but they don’t investigate the source of the gun.
The ONS highlighted the need for decentralization for people to obtain license to produce and obtain guns.
Mr.Abass Kamara suggested community police collaboration in information sharing.
Abu Bakarr Kamara stated that he knows thirteen (13) disabled camps who are in blacksmiths work but were n ot part of t he training, but try to replace gun manufacturing with alternative livelihood.
Santigie B. Mansaray talked about the effect of biodiversity in the destruction of animal lives and urge total ban on gun production. The local council should help blacksmiths to produce other items instead of guns and the training should include ghetto boys so they too would learn livelihood skills.
Mohamed Soko, District Forest and Wildlife Officer from the ministry of agriculture forestry talked about the importance of blacksmiths in food production in other essential services. He advised Government ministries to devolve their functions to local councils so that they would give support to blacksmiths.
City Council representative asked how would they help blacksmiths? He stated that Council would help local blacksmiths by buying their farming tools. The Agric. Business Centers use locally made tools. The Councilor stated that they would help blacksmiths with local content policy by advising the blacksmiths to form a union and register at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children\s Affairs and the District Council.
Henrietta Bangura asked if all the blacksmiths in Makeni were present at the forum? Council’s recommendations would only succeed if the blacksmiths are in a union. She further stated that farming seasons are short, blacksmiths tools could only be useful if they are produced early.
Ms Cole, SLANSA Coordinator, buttressed the above contributions by saying that the blacksmiths should reach out to important stakeholders in the community. She asked the Civil Society in Makeni to help spread the message about the blacksmiths.
Makapri Kamara, WHARD appreciated the SLANSA initiative to control small arms. He said the blacksmiths need help because they are poor.
Abass J. Kamara stated that they should begin to work with the Sierra Leone Cooperative to provide training for the blacksmiths. Private enterprises also like SLRA need tools and would help the blacksmiths if they give them the contract to produce the tools.
The representative of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, pledged to provide training for the blacksmiths. He said gender perspective must be included in the programme. Handicap and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children\s Affairs (MSWGCA) should consolidate different levels of discussions with the blacksmiths on the human security aspect of gun production.
Kailahun District (Daru Jawi Chiefdom) – 3rd July, 2018
The Consultant requested the leader of the Blacksmiths to explain for the attention of the stakeholders the constrains they are facing in accessing raw materials for the production of tools.
Sandi Kamanda , blacksmith from Baiima, Mandu Chiefdom, Kailaun District, thanked SLANSA for giving them an opportunity in a forum like that to sit with stakeholders for the first time to discuss issues affecting their profession . He went on to say that since the last training in Arms and Ammunition Act of 2012 and Basic Entrepreneurship skills, no blacksmith had been caught wanting. Raw materials are difficult to come by because of sale of scrap metals which had taken hold on every fibre of their communities depriving them of even the minor metals for their production. They, as blacksmiths are getting old, with none of their younger ones willing to learn and take over from them. He asked that Government assist them to train apprentices. They need workshops to produce quality products.
Jinah Kamara in his contribution, said some people despise blacksmith work as a dirty job, in spite of this, agriculture depend on them for tools. Some vehicle parts are manufactured by blacksmiths
which makes them (blacksmiths) very important in the community.
The consultant asked the representative of the Paramount Chief, Chief Samai, if there is any security risk in the work of blacksmiths in the Chiefdom?
The representative of the Paramount Chief responded by thanking SLANSA for bringing up a project for a group of people known as blacksmith who even though are not respected in the community but are the backbone of agricultural work in every community in the country. The tools used in farming are produced by them. He further went on to caution the blacksmiths not to encourage or accept any contract in gun production but to liaise with the security personnel in their locality.
Consultant asked why are women not in blacksmith work as a gender balance?
It was stated that the energy consuming work especially in bending some metals scare away women from the profession. Members were informed that in some cases black smithery is inherited as a generational profession, whereby it had been in the family from birth.
Sierra Leone Police advised the blacksmiths to register at the Sierra Leone Commission on Small Arms (SLeNCSA) if they are interested in gun production
Consultant : women have been beaten with weapons and these weapons have been linked to blacksmiths
Mohamed Moiguah – Blacksmiths are the backbone for agricultural activities but other people see them as producing harmful weapons which are also security risks in the community. Government should come to the aid of the blacksmiths in making their work economically viable with the provision of workshops, raw materials and marketing centers. They don’t intend to produce guns to kill but for their livelihood.
Coordinator contributed that blacksmiths are not protected for producing guns but are strongly advised to take licenses from Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms (SLeNCSA)..
Jinnah Kamara responded that some years past they used to manufacture guns – during the war but since the declaration of the law on arms, they have since stopped and are now engaged not only producing agricultural tols, but also steel windows, training of youths in blacksmithery and vehicle bolts and knots.
Consultant asked the representative from Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) for his experience in the exchange and flow of gun in the community.
RSLAF – replied that one of the issues that give them headache is blacksmiths because most of them are on the borders and even some were arrested in the Penguia and Kissi Tongi Chiefdoms in the Kailahun District. The problems that come up is that most of these blacksmiths on both sides of the boards are related and when any case on illegal gun possession comes up the chiefdom people intervened to stop necessary action to be taken . He advised that SLANSA should take such projects to the border areas to sensitize the communities there.
He continued that the chiefdom people should play a vital role and not to obstruct the arrest of anyone possessing or producing guns, because the military is there to protect territorial integrity and the state.
Paramount Chief representative supported the military in taking action against anyone caught producing guns in their chiefdom.
Chairlady –Jawi Women’s Organization in her contribution admonished the blacksmith to abide by the law and not be involved in the production of guns. She also stated that the group leader should bring all the blacksmiths together, because there are some in secret places that continue to manufacture guns.
All should join hands in the monitoring of the communities .
Consultant then asked for recommendations on how to gather blacksmiths together for proper monitoring?
Jinnah Kamara stated that it is not possible to gather all the blacksmiths in Jawi in one place but this could be done by sections.
Karmoh explained that in the blacksmith profession they exist by hierarchy. They are like the military, whereby they are categorized in the production of tools. They have laid down regulations that govern them in their field. All blacksmiths work under strict bye-laws and command.
Alhaji Abdulai Musa
Only work they are involved in the production of farm tools and cautioned his fellow blacksmiths to concentrate on producing items that could not breach the peace of the nation and asked that Government assist them in acquiring raw materials to expand their production and improve the quality.
Consultant informed them that if they work as a team, contract would be awarded to them.
Jinnah added his voice that there are two blacksmith shops in Segbwema and are already registered with district Council.
Consultant stated that with all the contributions from different members, there is need for blacksmiths to get acquainted with the stakeholders as already an avenue for them to access everyone of them especially the military has been created. As a way of wrapping up of the forum , stakeholders were asked to make commitments in giving support to the blacksmiths in doing their work .This is by way of ensuring that human security and development were achieved .
Major RSLAF said no blacksmith had ever visited the Moa Barracks as the military protects everyone to live in peace in a friendly atmosphere. He said they must not keep off from the military but admonished them to feel free and meet them to share experience.
Lt. RSLAF shared an experience on how 40 hunters entered the border from Liberia but the chiefs and community joined forces together and arrested them.
M. Kallon thanked SLANSA for the pieces of advice they have given to them on their work and making it possible to meet with stakeholders that would be of help in their work.
PC representative advised that blacksmiths should work as a team for recognition and support from other sources and monitor strange activities of other blacksmiths.
SLP – Women were advised not to use knives in stabbing their counterparts because a lot of complaints continue to pour in on the violent use of lethal weapon on men by women.
Sandi Kamanda – In his contribution stated that Government should not only be seeking the interest of teachers but also blacksmiths who are not recognized even though they greatly contribute to the production of foodstuff of every kind in the country for the consumption and wellbeing of the citizens. Also, if there is any war in the country, soldiers and blacksmiths suffer the most. They promised not to ever be involved in the production of guns but plead to Government once more for provision of workshops for them for the training of drop outs and other interested youths as apprentices. In cultural settings of blacksmiths women are not allowed to enter the blacksmith workshop. Blacksmith work is associated with the Poro society. If Government or any NGO provide workshops for us, women would be allowed to access all the production materials for their training.
Bockarie Lansana- Stated that Government should assist them since they have creative ideas besides production of guns that would contribute to the development of the country. Government and the chiefdom people to solidly support the blacksmiths to produce quality tools that are marketable as their source of livelihood.
Kenema District Pastoral Centre – 4th July, 2018
Consultant , Mr. Andrew S. Coomber introduced himself to members and requested the blacksmiths to present the problems they are facing in the field of blacksmithery, since the meeting was an opportunity for them to discuss with stakeholders who would be in position to assist them where necessary.
Hassan F. Kamara – From Metal and Technical Training Workshop, Blama, Small Bo, Kenema District.
On behalf of the other blacksmiths explained that they face a lot of problems in the production process in relation to availability of raw materials, even if they are available, but very expensive, Ministries involved in agricultural and sanitation activities do not consider their tools but prefer imported ones. In view of these, they were pleading with the Government, CBOs and NGOs to consider them for contracts, workshops, raw materials. Also Government to intervene in categorizing the type scrap metals that could be exported from the ones needed for blacksmith work to enable them produce quality tools and other items.
Sierra Leone Police (SLP) – Some citizens use weapons to terrorise people. and in such cases short guns are used. People point accusing fingers at the Police that they are conniving with criminals because they and the military are the authorized bodies to hold guns. He explained an incident that took place in Blama, Small Bo, where thieves boarded a vehicle from Kenema armed with guns terrorized the whole community forcing people to run into the bush for their lives. It was in this vain he was admonishing the blacksmiths not to encourage people who would request the production of guns. Illicit weapons are on the increase and women use some of them to threaten their counterparts.
The Coordinator of SLANSA Stated that laws have been enacted for anyone that would want to possess a gun should go and register at the Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms for license.
Jeneba Koroma – Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA)
With regards to gun production, such a session is very important and it is necessary to be held continually in order to monitor peace in our communities. Government has already put in place laws to carefully monitor the production, use and possession of guns.
Consultant asked the stakeholders whether what advice they would give on the issue of the production of guns by way of serving as deterrents?
Abibatu Kamara – District Council
Legal framework to produce guns have been put in place.
Presently, there is a declaration on countrywide cleaning every first Saturday in the month, with this a lot of cleaning tools are in demand. She advised the blacksmiths to form a union and register with the Ministry of Social Welfare so that they could apply for contract to produce on a scale. This will also go for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security for the production of farming tools.
She further requested the blacksmiths to add value to their production of tools.
Coordinator in her contribution stated that one of the reasons why SLANSA ( which promotes Human Security and Development) had organized this multi- stakeholders meeting was to see how the authorities could help the blacksmiths.
Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute.(SLARI) representative stated that food security is very important in agriculture. Value change would not be completed without including the fabricators, producers and marketers,
From nursery production to the market, value change would never change without the fabricators (blacksmiths). In Nigeria, they encouraged the fabricators to have a centre for food security. Also training of blacksmiths is very important to add value to secure food security. Batter system for the production of tools with farmers on the equivalent of tools. There is a training centre for fabricators at Njala, the blacksmiths could be trained there to add value to quality production.
Hassan Kamara informed the gathering that to register a blacksmith group cost Le500,000 and a form has to be purchased, which also cost money. But the Coordinator advised that they have to sacrifice to succeed in life.
Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs – She said there is need for the blacksmiths to coordinate with her Ministry which is ready to work with any group whenever they are ready.
Consultant- By way of Local Content Policy how would the Senior District Officer help the blacksmiths I n promoting their (blacksmiths) welfare?
Senior District Officer
He started by informing the gathering that the Arms and Ammunition Act 2012 emanated from the proliferation of arms during the war. The law is there to protect and advise producers and those who want to possess guns.
The set of people called blacksmiths produce household tools and guns and for this reason there is need to monitor them. To ascertain whether they are really producing farm tools or not. The blacksmiths are to work with the Ministry of Social Welfare, making sure that the policies are monitored and confirmed and not abused.
Consultant – Observed blacksmiths are limited in access to facilities that is why they are limited in opportunities. How can the stakeholders (local councils and traditional rulers) help the blacksmiths to get increased access to more opportunities?
Coordinator’s contribution – Individual blacksmiths are not allowed to obtain license from District Council. Is there any monitoring mechanism in place at Council to know what the blacksmiths are producing?
Council – It puts mechanism in place and makes sure that they monitor and check various workshops and structures in the communities.
Media – He stated that local council is representing the central Government and should tell people what to do. Disseminating correct information to the public in different languages and are ready to work with the blacksmiths .
RSLAF -We are responsible for keeping the security of the territorial integrity of the country whilst the police is responsible for the internal . We have the mandate to arrest and refer to the police that brings peace. Also encounter challenges in weapon exchange at borders.
Consultant – Asked for the gender aspect of this discussion i, e, on how to get women folks protected from using harmful instruments against their spouses and for the blacksmiths not leave the weapons unprotected in their workshops.
Ministry of Social Welfare suggested that line ministries and agencies including the civil societies must organize radio discussions for communities to be more alert especially in the production of weapons in the interest of peace in the community as a whole.
Consultant -How would the Ministry ensure that the Government has the materials the blacksmiths work with?
SLP – When an enabling environment is provided,
SLARI – Bye-laws to protect the fabricators and users. Bring blacksmiths on board, train them, add value to produce more tools and benefit, bring food on their tables and contribute to food security
District Council – Categorize scrap metals for export and blacksmith production
Ministry of Agriculture – Start to rethink of the type of scrap metals and iron ore needed for blacksmith production.
City Council- Blacksmiths to form a group, register and help them to get contracts from Council.
SLP – Help them to follow the laid law not only for themselves but for their communities and the country as whole.
Ministry of Agriculture – As long as they are registered with Council and adhere to the law, we will work with them to the full.
Media – To specify the scrap metals before exporting them so as to differentiate between those needed by the blacksmiths.
RSLAF – It is important to train the blacksmiths to beat the barrels into plough heads.
Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs.- Promised to coordinate and monitor the blacksmiths and Councils and continue to have sessions with them for the peace and human security.
District Officer – Popularize and disseminate information to other blacksmiths within their respective communities.
Koroma – CTC Kenema – If Government fails to put modalities in place to reduce the quantity of scrap metal export now, in the next 20 years there would no material left for the production of local tools for farming.
Foday S.- expressed gratitude to SLANSA for organizing such a meeting with stakeholders which has given them assurance that if they put what they have learnt and experience gained into practice would help them greatly in their trade.
Consultant pleaded with the Council to put the blacksmiths on a local content policy system with regards to obtaining contracts from Government to produce large number of tools,
Hassan Kamara – Said that they (blacksmiths) are ready to put an end to the production of guns, come together as a union whilst scouting for raw materials to add value to their production.
Bo District meeting was held at One World Link, Mattru Park, Bo on Thursday, 5th July, 2018
Consultant asked the blacksmiths to explain the challenges they are facing for the intervention of the different stakeholders who attended the multifaceted forum
The group leader Mr. Togbie hit on the main issues that are affecting them such as:
They have the knowledge and ability to produce equipments such palm oil and kernel extraction and garri processing machines but the constraints lies with the raw materials which mostly are found among the scrap metals.,
Consultant requested the Police to explain how they could guarantee the safety of the blacksmiths’ work.
SLP – When they talk about blacksmiths they think of old people in their villages, who come together producing farm tools, repairing of hunting guns, cutlasses, hoes and household utensils. Nowadays a lot of changes have taken place in their field of work which over the years after the war had caused people to accuse them of conspiring with bad people to produce dangerous weapons that affect the peace of the nation. Now that SLANSA had trained them in the Arms and Ammunition Act 2012,especially when the production of short guns (commonly called ‘family mundor’) is a big threat to state security which would hopefully minimize the production and the illegal flow of arms. He assured the blacksmiths that they would always be ready to discuss issues with them in a friendly and experience sharing atmosphere.
He added that stakeholders have a part to play not to fall victims. He added that to produce guns is not anything bad but expected to adhere to the laid down laws governing it. Monotoring of border areas should be seriously monitored.
Consultant asked how to interface with the blacksmiths to divert their attention from gun production?
Ministry of Agriculture – Ms Augusta Lahai representing the Ministry expressed her gratitude for taking part in the meeting. She stated that agriculture would never achieve its goal without the input of blacksmiths. For the Ministry to bring them on board, they should see the Director. She advised that they should go over the air for the public to know about their products,
Consultant enquired of the members on how they assessed the work of the blacksmiths.
ONS – Mr. Aiah M’bayo representing ONS shared the Ministry of Agriculture representative’s view for the blacksmiths to discuss with the Director, who would show them the processes to follow. To the security aspect, he said there was a situation when someone needed a gun because of frequent harassment by thieves. He was directed to the right office where he would be given all that it required to possess one. This is what is expected of blacksmiths, now that they already been trained in the Arms and Ammunitions Act 2012, they are in a position to divert from producing guns to producing other useful tools/items.
The ONS, RSLAF and Police advised the blacksmiths to form a group and register so that they would be able to control and monitor each other. As they continue to grow in number,they should not allow anyone to hoodwink them to produce guns.
Consultant – It is speculated that most of the leakages of guns landing into the wrong hands is from blacksmiths. How true is this from the military’s perspective?
RSLAF – Arm is a lethal instrument in addition to spears and knives which are all weapons alluding to blacksmiths. The security of the state and territorial integrity wholly depend on God and them.
He stated that SLANSA should take responsibility to contact the Ministry of Agriculture whose work involves the use of wheelbarrows, pick axe, etc which are all the product of blacksmiths.
During the war blacksmiths were repairing weapons, but now the war is over, they should think of involving in producing items that would earn them their living than lead them into problems.
Ministry of Social Welfare – Blacksmiths and children are the responsibility of our Ministry. The blacksmiths are doing well in their own field of work. Sometimes they do more harm than good. Most of their products are wrongly used. The blacksmiths have the talents to change metals into useful items for the Ministry of Agriculture and other CBOs implementing agricultural activities.
Consultant – How can the blacksmiths go about the registration process for their recognition by important stakeholders in their respective communities?
Council representative in her contribution stated that all CBOs and Council use farm tools for agricultural purposes , also Council needs tools for cleaning exercises. The blacksmiths were advised to go to Council and register as a group so that they would be considered for award of local contracts.
ACC- Blacksmithery is dynamic, potential and the country benefits from their products, Gun production poses threat to the peace of the country. To produce gun, there is no justification contrary to the law, but to adhere. He admonish the blacksmiths to take their profession very seriously even though not many people are really aware of its importance, They don’t have any legal framework to back up the industry, which does not give them a voice to bargain with. Anti-corruption is there to regulate the law and expect every citizen to be law abiding wherever they find themselves.
There is need to empower blacksmiths to access funds and build industries. Since the Government has a Ministry of Innovation which the blacksmiths could liaise with. He advised them to take step in another direction in the production of bricks, wonder stoves, etc. Appealed to SLANSA to work with other bodies in the area of alternative livelihood.
CSO – Mr. Daboh representing the Civil Society Organisation in Bo expressed thanks to SLANSA for organizing such a session and training blacksmiths in the Arms and Ammunitions Act 2012 which is of great help in enhancing the livelihood of not only the blacksmiths but the country as a whole. He took the onus on himself to work with the blacksmiths, in organizing them into a formidable force, make sure they register and get in touch with stakeholders that would promote their profession for recognition.
Morie Togbie – expressed thanks to SLANSA for organizing such a breath taking session. He also thanked the stakeholders for making their presence and contributions worthwhile in their neglected profession. Now that they have been given the opportunity to register and willingness of stakeholders to assist them to be recognized in society, they promised to work with all of them for a fruitful outcome’ especially when the representative of the CSO has volunteered to stir us through the processes of registration with Council on to our acquiring of raw materials for the production of quality tools.
Moyamba District meeting at the Kori Community Centre at Tiaima on Friday, 6th July, 2018
Consultant – asked the blacksmiths whether after the training they were able to share information on the Arms and Ammunitions Act 2012 with other blacksmiths who did not attend.
He added that stakeholders should help blacksmiths in line with human security, because people still grumble that blacksmiths are threats to security as they are always under suspicious lens of producing guns.
‘What would the stakeholders in Kori Chiefdom do to help the blacksmiths in line with human security?’ he asked.
Pa. Sam King, the blacksmith group leader stated that the problems they are facing in their production is mainly the scarcity of scrap metals and high cost of them if they (blacksmiths) happen to come across them. The exportation of scrap metals have greatly contributed to the poor quality, small scale production and not meeting the demand of the community.
Daniel Momoh – representative of the Paramount Chief stated that to help the blacksmith do efficient production in the chiefdom, they would try to put a stop on the sale of scrap metals.
Sony Jabatie – representing Council stated that scrap metal needed by blacksmith should be distinguished from those needed by the exporters.
Consultant – Blacksmiths have right to assistance because they pay licenses for their workshops and so need help to access materials needed for their work.
John Jusu – Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security – advised them to form a union and totally avoid gun production. Stakeholders to see how they could be of help to them to get the right scrap metals for their production.
SLP – Advised blacksmiths to take licence and abide by the law which prohibits the production of guns.
CSO – The problem with blacksmiths is they don’t have the right materials to produce quality tools. He admonished them to work as a team and present themselves to the Ministry of Agriculture for the production of farming tools.
Media – (Njala University ) Promised to inform the University of any activity of blacksmiths, the different types of tools they produce so that the media would do coverage, invite them for panel discussions for listeners to know the contribution they make towards development and human security.
Anti Corruption – advised them to form a union for recognition and contracts.
Ex RSLAF – Blacksmiths are very important in the agricultural sector of the country. When Government puts the ban on illegal possession of guns on the one hand, it was good. On the other hand it affected the farm lands because crops especially rice the staple food of the country were destroyed by animals. Secondly, scrap metals – main materials needed for their work for their livelihood and farming purposes are difficult to come by.
Rev. – recommended that sensitization should be done among the other blacksmiths that did not go through the training of the Arms and Ammunitions Act 2012 and make sure that they register for future opportunities.
Consultant -What is the commitment of stakeholders in seeing that blacksmiths succeed and be recognized as one of the factors contributing to scaling up of food security?
Morie Bockarie –( CSO ) In our capacity would help in advocating for the ban on the sale of scrap metals in the chiefdom, make sure that they register with Council.
Rev. Macauley- Money is the root of evil according to the Bible. If you could not afford to buy raw materials, and even if they produce tools, there is no available market to show case their product and the demand in their communities is poor, there is a tendency to do production of guns for fast money to keep them alive.
That is why they the stakeholders should be supporting pillars to see that the Ministry of Agriculture be contacted for contracts and support for the blacksmiths to access raw materials at reasonable cost.
Media – our own contribution is to make sure that we share the information in all the local languages with commitment of the stakeholders.
Coordinator – Requested that for peace to be sustained, media should continue to raise awareness as part of their programme
SLP – Work with the chiefdom elders to develop bye-laws to make sure that scrap metals are made available to blacksmiths.
Ministry of Social Welfare – Advised the blacksmiths who had already been trained to the Arms and Ammunitions 2012 Act to share the information with their colleagues, so that they too would be on the safe side, and the Ministry would make sure to support when they (blacksmiths ) are ready to register all processes leading to their license and contacts for them to be considers by Agric, CBOs and NGOs in agricultural and sanitation activities take them on board.
The Coordinator thanked the stakeholders for their meaningful contributions throughout the meeting that would contribute to human security and development in the country.
She agreed with the blacksmiths in their closing remarks concerning their traditional beliefs but opined that a change of mind rests solely with them, because Government would not do anything unless they change their mind set.
She once again joined the other members to admonish the blacksmiths to be unified and work as a group instead of waiting for Government or NGO to help them. The best thing to do if help is needed is to set the pace. The willingness must come from you the blacksmiths as well as not gambling with the peace………………………………………………………………………………….