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Esther Finda Kandeh

Esther Finda Kandeh is a human right activist in the natural resource governance in Sierra Leone.

She is the founder and director of Women on Mining and Extractives (WoME). She has participated in several low reform programs to address the challenges women are faced with in mining communities.

WoME is a national NGO that works in mining communities with women and young people to raise awareness, build capacity and advocate on the right of affected people especially women. In a country where women are not considered to be part of decisions making processes and benefit very little from the mining activities. They organize women, build their confidence to ask questions and advocate for themselves. Our work has in different ways increase the conciseness of women and authorities on their right of women in the extractive sector.

She also working with some women that have suffered rap by miners and have no justice for the action. Some have left with permanent scares and are traumatized by that. WoME offered them trauma support programs through counselling and economic support programs

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone has made significant progress in the area of human rights since the end of the armed conflict in 2002. As awareness of human rights in Sierra Leone is still relatively low, the role which human rights defenders play in the development of this awareness and provision of basic human rights education is critical.

Human rights defenders have generally been able to undertake their work without risking to suffer serious attacks from the authorities. No cases of killings or long term detentions of HRDs were reported in recent years.

Nevertheless, some HRDs still face harassment and acts of intimidation when pursuing their work. Attacks against gender and sexual rights organizations have been reported, including destruction of property and blackmailing. These organisations face particular challenges in rural areas. In one case, an NGO had its office broken into and partially destroyed only a few months after having to change location following an eviction notice that was also reportedly linked to the nature of their work. Human rights defenders denouncing human rights violations by state authorities and traditional leaders also faced harassment.