Two ofSierra Leone’sEbola hardest hit districtshavebenefittedfroma newUSD 1.5 million projecttohelpimprove 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 thegovernment#39;spost Ebola recovery strategy aimed at giving power to the local communitiesto be at the helm of decision-makingprocesson development and basic services delivery.
The border community-led development and governance project will empower the VDCs, particularlywomen to sit side-by-side with the local authorities using healthcare as entry point toidentify and priorities healthrelatedissues 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 alsorehabilitate95 social amenity structures including drinking water and sanitation facilities, schools and primary healthcare units (PHUs) prioritized by thebeneficiarycommunities. 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 DevelopmentMinister,Honourable MayaKaikaitold beneficiariesof theproject that the intervention would go a long way to improve the basic service delivery inthe two border districtswithGuinea in the north and Liberia in the east .
The lack of basic but essential services are negativelyimpactingthe health and wellbeing of his people,rdquo; said Foday Contehchief of theVillageDevelopmentCommitteefor Samu chiefdom in Kambia district.
Samu chiefdom,with64,572inhabitants hasone basic healthcare centre. It is not uncommon for patients totravelvery long distance in dusty and bumpy roadstoaccesshealth facilities.
With mostly ill-equippedhospital andpoorly motivatedstaff,the communitymembersthinkissues relatedtohealth arenot their businessexcept when they are ill or theirfamily members aresick, lamented by community members at launching ceremony.
In Kambia, the project will cover threechiefdomsSamu, Magbema and Gbinle-Dixon all predominately farming, cross-border tradingand fishing communities and inKailahundistrictfour chiefdomsof Luawa, Kissy Teng, Jawei and Peje, whichareagriculture and small-scale miningdominatedchiefdoms.
The UNDP interventioninthese threechiefdoms means that 60 percentof the Kambia people will be covered and we would have a healthy population,rdquo; said PC Alimany Lahai.
UNDPInclusive GrowthCluster leadGhulamSherani, notedUNDP’sinvaluable partnership with the government and the people of Sierra Leone spanning4decades.
Involving communities in development planning and decision making process is anexcellent opportunityto solvesocio-economic challenges at community levels,rdquo; Mr. Sherani said.
Thelaunching of thenew projecttitled:Access to HealthCare and Community Led Developmentrdquo; with funding from the Government of Japanisimplemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with theLocal Government and Rural Development Ministrycomesjust twoweeksafter the nationcommemorateditsone-year anniversary of the end oftheEbola epidemic.
Source: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).