On January 28, 2020 at the Magnolia Rotary Club Meeting at the MISD Event Center, Real Provencher updated the membership on the Club's International Peace Project in Bo, Sierra Leone. Having recently returned from there, Real brought a plaque hand carved by the Bo Rotary Club members to show appreciation to the efforts of the Magnolia Rotary Club to help in the Peace Project in their country. The photo above is of the hand made plaque made by the Bo Club membership.
Sierra Leone is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa.  It is bordered by Liberia to the southeast and Guinea to the northeast.  It has a population of 7,075,641.
There are three Rotary clubs in Sierra Leone; , two are in the capital Freetown and the other at Bo - the second largest city in Sierre Leone, with a population 175,000.
The club - chartered in 1988 - has 17 members and meets at 5pm on Wednesdays at Fair View Lodge, Bo/Taiama Highway, Kebbie Town - Bo, Bo, Sierra Leone
As a reminder, the project overview was as follows:
Sierra Leone has struggled to maintain peace following a long and bitter civil war. The Ebola crisis and 2017’s mudslides and floods have placed additional strains on the country. Women have historically been marginalized in the society. UN Resolution 1325 calls for the increased participation of women at all levels of decision-making, in peace negotiations, and in mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflict. The first resolution for youth peace and security, UN Resolution 2250, emphasizes the importance of youth as change agents in the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. The large population of young people in the region are facing a high rate of unemployment and an economic crisis. Confronting these issues is critical to building a sustainable peace. For these and other reasons, the Sierra Team which includes Mediators Beyond Borders, International (MBBI) has developed a program to train women and youth to assume leadership positions.

The program developed is intended to provide in-depth and long-term support of capable and empowered
leaders who are:

1) skilled in conflict prevention and resolution, and
2) empowered to take active roles in sustaining peace and building societal resilience, and
3) actively engaged in Sierra Leone’s ongoing development.

The program is designed to provide training via a core, five-day intensive learning program followed by personalized coaching, a robust network of in-country colleagues and peers comprising a vibrant support system, ongoing training and skill refreshers (live and virtual), and a dedicated team and resource materials available as appropriate to facilitate leadership and change agent processes. Specific training blends theory and practical learning in leadership, conflict management, communication, civic responsibilities, personal leadership and development processes, and team effectiveness, among other topics. Approximately six months after the original five-day session, participants will participate in a webinar to share experiences and practices.

Up to 28 regional women and youth will participate in each session, each selected by local leaders based on their potential to lead and train others in their communities. Targeted curriculum covers Women’s Empowerment courses that equip women with political aspirations to seek public office in line with Sierra Leone’s goal of increasing women in political leadership to 30%, as well as to serve as leaders in their respective communities. Sierra Leonean culture faces additional challenges as changes to gender roles threaten traditional family and social structure. This resulting widespread disruption also makes the country vulnerable, and our program will seek to empower women to build the capacity to manage these risks and become leaders while managing conflict situations.

The Youth Leadership curriculum, designed for participants ages 21-35, raises awareness of leadership potential of young people who comprise the majority of the population, empowering them with skills to address issues such as unemployment and conflict management in order π.

During the recent trip in February 2018, four workshops on Building Unity for Peaceful Elections were held with 300 participants from diverse stakeholder groups from civil society. Tribal Chiefs also attended and supported the workshops. The MBBI team and local partners conducted needs assessment interviews and focus groups with corporate CEO’s, UNDP, women’s and youth leaders, youth and women. Data collected overwhelmingly supports the challenges of women and youth in society, and the need for building the capacity of women and youth leaders.

The Program Objective is to significantly increase collaborative problem-solving and consensus building skills for 56 participants over a 12-month period so that at least 80% of participants will go on to establish peace building programs in their community. This is based on discussions with our partners which are still ongoing. The direct Beneficiaries will be approximately 28 women and 28 young people participating in the programs. These participants will then impact potentially hundreds in their communities throughout the country. Participants will learn more about Rotary, and members of the Rotary Clubs will also learn more about conflict resolution.