UK military forces opted to use only small specially trained teams rather than

Uk military forces opted to use only small specially

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UK military forces opted to use only small specially trained teams rather than large operational forces such as in Iraq. This tactical decision is argued to have “ led to final peace accords, restored order to a failed state, and allowed the democratic restoration of the government of Sierra Leone” (Roberson, 2007, p. 2). The political and economic infrastructure in Sierra Leone prior to the war was weak and unstable. A poverty profile conducted in 1989-1900 found over 80% of the population lived in poverty and suffered from lack of income, lack of access to health, education and other services, powerlessness, isolation, vulnerability, and social exclusion (Department of National Development and Economic Planning, 1990). The working poor
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59 were largely small substance farmers. The war displaced the agricultural population and destroyed the land resulting in the loss of crops vital to survival. Additionally, the weak transportation system was also destroyed leaving many rural areas without access roads to urban areas. Access to power and clean water was also damaged by the war. The Iraq case study demonstrated an area where a viable infrastructure was destroyed by war but Sierra Leone is a case where an already weak and insufficient system was further depleted and destroyed. Sierra Leone is not new to democracy or elections. Since 1961 there have been several national democratic elections, with the most recent previous post-conflict election conducted in 2002. The 2007 election was notable as it was the first full election following the conclusion of the UN peacekeeping mission. Additionally, it was the first election that would result in a post-conflict change of power. I. Defining Successful Elections The constitution of Sierra Leone guarantees citizens the right to vote. “The constitution provides that every citizen of Sierra Leone who is 18 or more years of age and of sound mind has a right to vote in public elections and referenda” (Commonwealth Observation Group, 2007, p. 17). In 2007, education campaigns were developed to ensure all citizens knew their right to vote and understood how to register and vote. National level voter education campaigns specifically focused on the challenges such as “high levels of poverty and correspondingly low literacy rates, as well as the country’s youthful demographics” (NDI, 2008, p. 17). Voter education outreach projects used all forms of media to reach as many voters as possible. This included the use of traditional methods such as billboards, radio ads, and flyers, as well as smaller localized efforts such
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60 as community rallies and neighborhood meetings. The education campaign was successful. “2.6 million Sierra Leoneans (an estimated 90 percent of eligible voters) registered to vote, of which 49 percent were female and 56 percent were under the age of 32” (NDI, 2008, p. 18).
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