Two of Sierra Leone’s Ebola hardest hit districts have benefitted from a new USD 1.5 million project to help improve their livelihood and basic services in rural communities on November 18, 2016.
The initiative, launched by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon Maya Kaikai, is part of the government’s post Ebola recovery strategy aimed at giving power to the local communities to be at the helm of decision-making process on development and basic services delivery.
The border community-led development and governance project will empower the VDCs, particularly women to sit side-by-side with the local authorities using healthcare as entry point to identify and priorities health related issues affecting their communities. The initiative seeks to strengthen community capacities and participation in the local development planning processes in the major border districts of Kambia and Kailahun.
The project will also rehabilitate 95 social amenity structures including drinking water and sanitation facilities, schools and primary healthcare units (PHUs) prioritized by the beneficiary communities. Additionally, the community members will be empowered to lead the planning and implementation of the rehabilitation of the identified social amenity structures. This will provide employment to the members of the beneficiary communities and boost their livelihood.
Sierra Leone’s Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Honourable Maya Kaikai told beneficiaries of the project that the intervention would go a long way to improve the basic service delivery in the two border districts with Guinea in the north and Liberia in the east .
“The lack of basic but essential services are negatively impacting the health and wellbeing of his people,” said Foday Conteh chief of the Village Development Committee for Samu chiefdom in Kambia district.
Samu chiefdom, with 64,572 inhabitants has one basic healthcare centre. It is not uncommon for patients to travel very long distance in dusty and bumpy roads to access health facilities.
With mostly ill-equipped hospital and poorly motivated staff, the community members think issues related to health are not their business except when they are ill or their family members are sick, lamented by community members at launching ceremony.
In Kambia, the project will cover three chiefdoms Samu, Magbema and Gbinle-Dixon all predominately farming, cross-border trading and fishing communities and in Kailahun district four chiefdoms of Luawa, Kissy Teng, Jawei and Peje, which are agriculture and small-scale mining dominated chiefdoms.
“The UNDP intervention in these three chiefdoms means that 60 percent of the Kambia people will be covered and we would have a healthy population,” said PC Alimany Lahai.
UNDP Inclusive Growth Cluster lead Ghulam Sherani, noted UNDP’s invaluable partnership with the government and the people of Sierra Leone spanning 4 decades.
“Involving communities in development planning and decision making process is an excellent opportunity to solve socio-economic challenges at community levels,” Mr. Sherani said.
The launching of the new project titled: Access to HealthCare and Community Led Development” with funding from the Government of Japan is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry comes just two weeks after the nation commemorated its one-year anniversary of the end of the Ebola epidemic.Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).