They were such a spectacle at one of our numerous boat stop-over’s on our return trip from Bonthe Island, during a joint BBC Media Action and JHR’s needs assessment for the second round of stations to be trained and mentored in 2012.
Bonthe Island is located on the south eastern part of Sierra Leone, with water transport being the only means to access the island; it’s also one of Sierra Leone’s renowned islands for its past slave trade era activities and the only other municipality in Sierra Leone apart from Freetown – Tempting to say it’s a forgotten part of Sierra Leone for the lack of or aging basic infrastructure and going by our findings from interactions with the indigenes and authorities.
With a population of slightly over 3000 inhabitants made up of mainly Shaboro and Mende speaking tribes, Bonthe Island is largely a fishing community. The foot prints of slave trade activities still very evident along with the colonial era architectural style buildings that make up the bulk of buildings on the Island still standing firm.
As part of my needs assessment, I asked a section of indigenes what possible human rights issues existed on the island, and high among them is the use of child labor in fishing activities, which is the major economic activity on the island.
As I go in to my placement early April 2012 with radio Bontico, the only community radio station on the island, I look forward working with journalists to address a myriad of human rights issues that came up during our needs assessments exercise and particularly the issue of child labor and other human rights related violations that children face on the island.