By: Sylvanus Blake; Assistant PRO-ACC
The Anti–Corruption Commission (ACC), on Friday 16th September 2022, commenced a ten-day post payment monitoring of the last nationwide unconditional cash transfer under the Social Safety Net (SSN) project implemented in all 16 districts of the country between March and June 2022.
The monitoring exercise is part of the Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) component of the SSN established to uphold integrity and transparency in the SSN project. The monitoring team, which includes the ACC Deputy Commissioner Augustine Foday Ngobie, Senior SSN Project management members, district and community monitors, will traverse project communities, engage beneficiaries and community stakeholders.
Addressing a cross-section of ACC monitors in Nongowa Chiefdom, Kenema District, the Deputy Commissioner, ACC, was full of appreciation for the team, who continue to brave challenging terrains in the quest to sustain integrity and transparency in the SSN project. He encouraged them to record and treat all complaints and grievances from the communities with all seriousness, and ensure aggrieved parties receive the appropriate redress within a reasonable timeframe. He reassured the beneficiaries that the ACC will continue to partner with National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) and all other stakeholders for the smooth and unhindered implementation of the cash transfer project.
The SSN programme is a World Bank-funded project, implemented by the Government of Sierra Leone through NaCSA. It provides unconditional cash assistance to vulnerable households to help meet their basic needs. During the last payment, a total of 35,000 households across the 16 districts of Sierra Leone received Four Hundred and Thirty New Leones (NLe:430) per beneficiary for a quarter.
Post-payment monitoring is a key function of GRM, which the ACC is handling. It takes place after every phase of payment of SSN beneficiaries. The monitoring exercise started with a review of the payment monitoring questionnaire or a checklist that seeks to find out whether the respondent beneficiary received the full amount of cash that was to be paid to him/her, or whether or not the beneficiary experienced any form of extortion. All concerns and grievances are recorded and referred to the appropriate partner institution for the required action.
Since the start of the monitoring exercise in all the 16 beneficiary districts, community monitors and supervisors under the leadership of the ACC Deputy Commissioner have been engaging community stakeholders as part of the entry protocol, and also interviewing SSN beneficiaries.The team will continue with such engagements until the sample size is fully covered with all the questionnaires administered. At the end of the exercise, the ACC will compile all reports from the 16 beneficiary districts and come up with a holistic SSN Cash Transfer Project Post-Payment Monitoring Report which will be shared with implementing partners.