By: David Yusuf Kabia, Public Relations Assistant, ACC
A team of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officers, led by Al-Hassan Sesay, Head of Outreach Unit in the Public Education and External Outreach Department (PE&EOD) on the 16th May, 2023, held a sensitization meeting with beneficiaries and residents of Bundulai Village of Kamsondo Chiefdom in the Port Loko District on the overview of the Social Safety Net (SSN) project and the role of the beneficiaries.
In his presentation on the SSN project, Al-Haassan Sesay, commended the people on their judicious use of the SSN funds and encouraged them to continue in the same manner. As to why they are beneficiaries to this project, he told them the SSN project was carefully rolled out by the Government of Sierra Leone and the World Bank and implemented by the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) to help the poorest of the poor in and around communities in Sierra Leone.
Al-Hassan Sesay further told beneficiaries that the role of ACC in the project is to address all grievances that may arise especially in the disbursement of funds to the beneficiaries hence, the Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) Unit within the ACC infrastructure. Dilating on the selection process for beneficiaries, he highlighted that the project is not meant for the aged but those who are so poor. He explained that the reason why local authorities are not part of the Selection Committee but religious Heads, this is in order to ensure that unfair advantage is not conferred on any beneficiaries by reason of either their political or otherwise affiliation with those local authorities. He went on to advise the beneficiaries on the use of the project funds, in that the funds must be used to look after the economic and livelihood needs in their homes.
In his submission on the role of the beneficiaries, David Yusuf Kabia, Public Relations Assistant, ACC, told the beneficiaries that their first and general role is to ensure that, the funds are used properly to alleviate the sufferings caused by acute poverty. This he said include, providing food for their families; and maintaining a better living conditions and take care of the health of family members where need be. He warned against using these funds for marriage purposes or other cultural activities that are financially demanding.
David also informed the beneficiaries that in times like these when the world suffers from economic crisis, the significance of properly utilizing these funds must not be overemphasized. He particularly appealed to all male beneficiaries not to use these funds to divide their families by getting more wives or engaging in financially demanding activities that could plunge their families into acute poverty. He also told the female beneficiaries to use this opportunity to support their husbands in managing the homes by engaging in small businesses that would provide for their families with more opportunities.
ACC’s District Coordinator, Port Loko, Salifu Kamara briefly explained to beneficiaries how reports or complaints on corruption are made to the ACC. He told them that besides reporting such matters directly to the Port Loko Office, they can also report corruption by calling 077-985985 or 077-986986. These calls, Salifu said, would be made for free from Africell network. He concluded by admonishing the beneficiaries that corruption cannot be successfully fought and won if citizens do not believe that they have a role to play in it.
Earlier in his statement, the Town Chief, Bundulai Village, Pa Lamin Conteh, warmly welcomed the team from ACC and thanked them for making his village’s beneficiaries paramount, with the sensitization messages. He went further to state that had it not been for the ACC, progress and development within their communities would not have been possible especially since the disbursement of the SSN project funds started.
The meeting was
climaxed by concerns, questions and appreciation from the beneficiaries.