In its drive to empower and sensitize beneficiary communities of the Sierra Leone Community Driven Development (SLCDD) - “GIETRENK” project, a team led by the Director of Public Education and Outreach, ACC, Patrick Sandi on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st April engaged Bradford community in the Ribbi Chiefdom, Moyamba District and Lower Bambara Chiefdom, Kenema District respectively.
Addressing beneficiaries of the project and community stakeholders at the meetings held at the Local Administrative Centre in Bradford Ribbi Chiefdom, Moyamba district and the Environmental Health Hall in Kenema, Kenema District, Director of Public Education and Outreach, ACC Patrick Sandi gave an in-depth background of the project. He outlined the donor partners funding the project, and NaCSA as the implementing partner and the role of the ACC in the project. Speaking on the role of the Commission in the GIETRENK project, Director Sandi stated that, the ACC’s involvement in the project came as a result of the Islamic Development Bank requesting the Commission to monitor the project through their Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) as in the Social Safety Net program (SSN). He clearly stated how the Commission has added value to the project with huge display of integrity and transparency, and increased donors and beneficiaries’ confidence.
In his submission, Shiaka Kamara Public Education Officer ACC, underscored the purpose of the engagement and the role of the community in the implementation of the project, clearly highlighting what the ACC expects of them and how they as community members should channel their reports, suggestions and recommendations to all parties involved in the implementation of the project. He ended his statement by reading out the toll free lines of the ACC in case they have issues to report-077-985-985 and 077-986-986.
Updating and bringing the communities up-to-speed with the activities of the Commission, Christiana F. Jusu enumerated on the many gains the ACC has recorded over the years making emphasis on the tremendous gains in the last four years. She told listeners that the Commission appreciates their contributions to the fight and encouraged them to sustain the collaboration. She outlined the many interventions the Commission has made in ensuring that beneficiaries are fairly and transparently treated. She also informed them about the just concluded Asset Declaration exercise and moving forward, how the Commission is going to take steps against defaulters. She updated the communities that the ACC has recovered over Thirty Five (35) Billion Leones cash from corrupt persons, how they have secured over 95% conviction rate and made unprecedented upward mobility in local and international corruption perception indexes in three years. She also said that, the ACC has the role to increase public awareness on not only this project but on all issues of corruption cataloguing the many outreach activities the Commission continues to undertake in hard to reach communities, Schools, Universities and Colleges, Government and Non-Governmental institutions.
Earlier, in the meeting in Moyamba Chiefdom, the Regent Chief of Ribbi Chiefdom, Mohamed Jalloh, expressed on behalf of the entire Chiefdom their appreciation to the Government of Sierra Leone, NaCSA, the Islamic Development Bank and the ACC for considering their Chiefdom to benefit from this project, noting that there are still communities in their chiefdoms that are yet to benefit from the support. He assured the Commission of their unwavering support to the fight and pledged to work closely with NaCSA to successfully implement the project.
Rachael Y. MCcarthy, the Community Based Facilitator, NaCSA also encouraged the Lower Bambara Community to own the project outlining the benefits they as community members stand to gain. She used this opportunity to clarify some of the issues that are usually raised up during their engagements with other communities. She ended up by thanking the ACC for the support they are giving to NaCSA in the implementation of this project.
Community members in Bradford and Lower Bambara however expressed their frustration over delays in the completion of some projects, such as the Community Health Centre and Resource Centre in Bradford and the capacity building and the micro-finance support to women in Kenema.
Questions and answers sessions formed part of the engagements.