The Office of Outreach and Public Affairs was created in April 2008 by a merger of Press and Public Affairs and Outreach.
Resources for journalists covering the Special Court may be found in the Pressroom.
Outreach and Public Affairs is located within the Registry but works with all areas of the Court to foster two-way communication between Sierra Leoneans and the Special Court. To achieve its mission it targets the general population as well as specific groups including the military, the police, students at all levels, the judiciary, prison officers, religious leaders, civil society and national and international NGOs. Outreach uses town hall meetings, radio programmes, publications, seminars and training to communicate the work of the Special Court.
The challenges in informing Sierra Leoneans beyond Freetown about the work of the Court generally, and the trial process in particular are many and varied. A number of communities are isolated, with limited communications infrastructure. There are also a number of different languages and dialects and levels of literacy are low. Outreach takes into account all of these factors and has designed a programme, which is flexible and needs-based. A nationwide network of Outreach officers, some of whom reach many communities by motorbike, is supported by a central office in Freetown. Outreach organises events within Freetown and across the nation for representatives of Registry, Defence and Prosecution to communicate their messages to Sierra Leoneans through town hall meetings, school meetings, seminars, training and radio panel discussions.
In particular, the Section undertakes a series of activities and programmes geared towards informing and educating children. Outreach conducts "Training the Trainer" workshops around the country and has developed a training manual resulting in the formation of School Human Rights and Peace Clubs. Children also participate through "Kids Talking to Kids" radio programmes. Quiz and debating competitions are organised within schools.
"Accountability Now Clubs" have been established at eight universities across Sierra Leone with instruction and training provided by Outreach. The clubs are now self-sufficient and focus on the broader issues of justice, accountability and human rights, thereby educating people in the years to come.
People with disabilities are also included in Outreach activities. The Section employs a visually impaired person to serve as a consultant on addressing the outreach needs of those with disabilities, particularly the visually impaired. Information material in braille relating to the Special Court was produced, and the Section conducted teacher training for hearing impaired students.
Outreach also focuses on women, and has acted in partnership with other organisations to provide information for nurses, market workers and women in communities.
The Special Court Made Simple, Second Edition
International Humanitarian Law Made Simple, Second Edition
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