As I wrap up my fellowship as an Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellow working specifically on the Liberian TRC Project, I must say it was a great experience, and I look forward to such experience in the future. My fellowship began on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 and will end on Tuesday, July 31, 2007.
For the past three months working on the Liberian TRC Project, I was mostly involved with outreach for potential statement-givers. Statement-giving is one of the cardinal points of the whole TRC excercise. It entails both the victims and/or the perpetrators telling their story or their experience about the Liberian civil war. Sometimes this process is charcterized with mixed emotions and painful memories, and literally outburst of tears. It sometimes renders difficulty to both the volunteer statement-givers and statement-takers. That is why Minnesota Advocates put in measures such as volunteers who are trained in handling traumatic experience and who can also provide counseling to victims of trauma, train volunteer statement-takers, and has an array of advisory committee members to advise on the political and cultural aspects of the statement-taking process.
The month of July is declared, "TRC Month." What this means is that we design progressive outreach strategies to beef-up our number of statement-givers. We identify specific events and sites, including churches, mosques, soccer games, local Liberian associations' meetings, informal gatherings, among other strategies.