Christiana Thorpe

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Christiana A. M. Thorpe - Sierra Leone - Founding Chair, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE Sierra Leone Chapter), Chairperson & Chief Electoral Commissioner.

"Christiana Thorpe is the chief electoral commissioner for the National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone. She is the founding chair and former chief executive officer of the Sierra Leone branch of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE-SL). A former nun, Thorpe left convent life to devote herself to the protection and education of girls. She was appointed deputy minister of education in late 1993 – the only woman in a cabinet of 19 members. After establishing FAWE-SL in 1995, the group created Emergency Camp Schools in the capital, Freetown, for children displaced by the civil war. Unrest in the country forced her into exile in Guinea, where FAWE-SL developed non-formal education programs for children. The organization later counseled and rehabilitated women and girls who had been raped by the fighting forces, particularly those victimized during the rebel attack on Freetown in 1999.

"Through her duties as chief electoral commissioner, Thorpe restructured electoral processes within Sierra Leone for the nation’s second post-conflict presidential and parliamentary elections. Thorpe was responsible for registering political parties and citizen voters and organizing and monitoring the voting process. In addition, she ensured the involvement of all stakeholders including civil society and security forces in the election planning process. She conducted a series of civic education trainings with women’s and youth groups to educate them on election processes. With the successful training of over 8,000 youth, Thorpe employed them to monitor the elections. In a final effort to minimize election-inspired violence, she conducted trainings of peaceful conflict resolution with village chiefs. Thorpe is also a member of the National Security Council, which elevated her capacity to institute free and fair elections within the country.

"Thorpe received the 2006 Voices of Courage Award from the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children and the Special Token of Appreciation for Remarkable Services Award of Sierra Leone for her service to humanity." [1]

"Dr Christiana Thorpe (Sierra Leone) is the first woman to become Chief Electoral Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission Sierra Leone. Under her leadership the National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone has undergone radical restructuring to become a self accounting independent institution with authority over the recruitment of its own staff, and ownership of independent infrastructure. The Network of Electoral Commissions in West Africa has elected her as the President of the Coordinating Committee which directs its affairs. Dr Thorpe is also the founding Chairperson for the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE Sierra Leone Chapter) which advocates for girls' education nationwide. In this position she seen membership of the Chapter increase to embrace all four regions and fourteen districts in the country with a volunteer membership of almost one thousand women. She has also served as Secretary of State, in the Ministry of Education and as a board member for various organisations. She is the recipient of national and international awards, most recently the prestigious German Africa Award 2009."[2]


Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Women PeaceMakers Program, Kroc Institute, accessed November 17, 2008.
  2. Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa Board, organizational web page, accessed November 29, 2014.