Mycro in Sierra Leone – top-down approach to empower communities

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi,
ProMosaik. In the following our interview with MYCRO in Sierra Leone. We talked
about the history of the country, the main human rights issues, and the objectives
of MYCRO. The organization implements a bottom-top-approach to empower
are the main issues, related to the aftermath of the war that led to the foundation
The past brutal war that caused the loss of
million lives came as a result of the many unbearable things that were happening
in Sierra Leone. After independence in 1961, the country has been govern
through the one party system which also brought about tribal and regional wars
in the past, later, the country attained the Multi-party system of government.
This system was not favorable to the citizens of the country. The president of
governing party pays more attention to his own region, leaving other district
venerable and deprive.
From the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s the country
was experiencing severe bankruptcy, economic hardship, corruption,
mismanagement from the top to the bottom, to the extend human beings were sold
in exchange of money – for slavery purposes and rituals. All this surmounted to
the brutal war in 1991 when the late Foday Sancoh mobilized young people
(rebels) and wage war against the ruling government of the regime- the All
People Congress Party.
The past civil war is now writing in history and
the world recognized it as one of the worst atrocities the world has ever
experienced. The killing of children, conscription of children as
child-soldiers, women rape and used to carry loads, houses burnt down, father
were asked to have sexual intercourse their daughters, boys with their mothers
and so on. The 11 years brutal war in Sierra Leone caused almost all children,
teenagers and youth of that time violence, corruption, unemployed and lived a
life of no hope and aspiration for the future to come. Violence and the
criminal arts were everywhere in towns, communities and the district, because I
was believed that you must fight to get what you want by hook or crook. The war
finally ended through the support if the United Nations, the Commonwealth and
other international humanitarian bodies, but the aftermaths or the effects of
the war linger the minds of many even today. The issues of depression, frustrations,
violence, psychosocial trauma and extreme poverty remain visible after the war
As many other civil society organizations and
the International support committee, the Movement for youth and Children’s
Right organization was established in 2008 years after the war to complete
government and other institutions in their fight for peace, reconciliation,
foster a good and reliable human rights strategies and commission to protect
and enhance the rights for all especially children and who bears the greatest
circumstances of the brutal war. The Movement started after its members
conducted a four day community feasibility study to find out if the Sierra
Leone child right acts that was enacted was active in communities.  To our surprises, many communities were not
even aware of those child rights laws and after having many consultations with
many community youth about youth, democracy, empowerment and development, we
got a massive concern from those young people and such led to the formation of
the Movement for youth and Children’s Rights Organization to tactically support
communities understand the laws and uphold them for national development. 
what ways do you select the countries and the communities where you intervene?
MYCRO always conduct community feasibility
studies to study the problem. For instance, some communities have higher rates
of violence, illiteracy, unemployment and lack of education, whereas some
communities have a very low percent of such unfortunate challenge, so as an
organization, we concentrate into those higher challenge communities by helping
them with a suitable solution through collective approach the community
authorities and other institutions working in the same interest. We select
countries base on the interest of youngsters. They youngsters normally send
Letter of interest to MYCRO office and we understudy it and send the
International liaison officer who will visit and conduct feasibility  study and from that, MYCRO office may decides
whether to replicate it program or not base on the level of the needs in that
would you define your approach?
We prefer the bottom top approach in all our
programs because we believe that many non-profit fail in their strife for
positive change because they use the Top-Bottom approach. We collectively work
with community and national authorities in meeting the needs of the beneficiaries
moreover; we work with the beneficiaries themselves by creating the sense of
ownership and responsive approach with the community. These have made our work
which tools do you promote youngsters and communities empowerment?
We promote youngsters through entrepreneur and
empowerment programs like – training in startup business, small and large scale
agribusiness training, skill training and self-reliant programs. For instance,
we are currently embarking on the Self-Help Agricultural project in Sierra
Leone and Ghana. Providing seeds for village and town farming. These villages
and towns have come together as a team and cultivate crop which is call (community
Self Reliant farming) this project help the community solve their common
challenges like selling the harvested crops and in turn buy large sum of
schools materials which are distributed amongst all school going children in
the village. This initiative helps to reduce individual burden as a say goes – “together
we make a great difference” (The power in Partnership)
do you cooperate with local authorities?
Yes, in all our community programs we cooperate
and partner with the existing local authorizes and organizations in that
locality especially those whose thematic operations are similar to ours. Like
the City council, Municipal Assembly, Chiefs, community elders, radio stations,
civil society groups, Non-profits organizations and government agencies. For
instance when doing the girls health education project, we partnered with
Ministry of Health of that country along with health organizations and health
workers in that community to bring up a better result. How: In any community
program, we bring to light the alarming issues and request partnership with
bigger institutions at national, international and community level, especially
whose institutions that have expectorate in that area, they will provide
training facilitators and we provide the training ground and tools.  
feel free to add anything that you may want to say.
Currently the organization is operating in 7 countries in
Africa: namely Sierra Leone, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria and
Our thematic Areas are: Education for all dreams, ICT as a
tool to eradicate poverty in Africa, Impact Women Initiative, Nonviolent
Communication, Children rights, youth entrepreneurship and empowerment and
Child Feeding and Food Banking
We are looking forward to have international Volunteers who can come and
support our work, and learn from our local communities in Africa. Our culture
and lifestyles are rich and enjoyable. We welcome those who wish to visit and
volunteer in Africa.