LEGAL LINK CELEBRATES VALENTINE’S DAY WITH ORPHANS AND AGED

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As part of its mandate to ensuring that the world becomes a better place for older persons and orphans, LEGAL LINK on the 14th February 2022 (Valentine’s Day) donated food items such as rice, oil, onions, Maggie, water, clothings, pampas, and cupcakes to the Aged at the Old People’s Home and the abandoned children at Manaheim Children Orphanage at Grafton, Freetown.

The aged and orphans were also given pin ups as a gesture of LEGAL LINK’s love and commitment to seeking their welfare.

The leadership of both the old People’s Home and Manaheim Children Orphanage expressed delight over the food items and gifts presented and thanked LEGAL LINK for coming to their aid at a time when everyone seemed to have forgotten about them.

The Manheim Orphanage home is a refuge to about 35 disable and abandoned children and is currently under construction through the help of the Ministry of Social Welfare and One Family People together with some donor partners.

While commending this move by the government to provide a more decent orphanage home for these abandoned kids, it was noted however that  medical facilities as well as an ambulance to deal with emergency health challenges was lacking at the old people’s home in Grafton.

According to Rashid Dumbuya Esq, Executive Director of LEGAL LINK, the non – availability of medical facilities and an ambulance at the old people’s home in Grafton amounts to a violation of the right to health of older persons in the home as required by the Protocol on the rights of older persons in Africa.

Rashid ended by calling on the government of Sierra Leone to sign and ratify the Protocol on the rights of older persons in Africa so as to be able to fully guarantee the rights of older persons within the jurisdiction.

The programme was climaxed with prayers and beautiful songs of appreciations from the old people living in the home.

Special thanks to all those that contributed in cash or in kind to making this project a great success.

MINISTRY OF FINANCE/WORLD BANK LAUNCH $40M ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNANCE FOR BASIC SERVICE DELIVERY PROJECT

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) in collaboration with the World Bank has on Tuesday 15th February 2022 officially launched the Accountable Governance for Basic Services Delivery Project (AGBSDP) in a hybrid/Video Conference ceremony.

This is a $40 million IDA grant that was approved in 2021 and became effective on 25th January 2022.

The project has four components; systems and skills – USD$15.75M; local development financing – USD$19M; integrated data platforms and citizen engagement – USD$3.25M; and project management and implementation support – USD$2M.

According to World Bank Senior Public Sector Specialist, Lida Bteddini in an online presentation, this project is an added grant to improving resource management, transparency, and accountability on the governance system.

She added that the project seeks to address some issues identified as challenges to services at the local government level like fragmented institutional structures, weak coordination, limited or delay utilisation of local budget, data management systems for record-keeping, improved government ability for result and increase in public finances.

According to Lida Bteddini, the project would support public service delivery at a local level and advance key oversight mechanisms including services, feedback, and data management system, stating that a key component of the project is to improve citizens’ engagement at the local government level.

In his statement, Deputy Minister of Finance 1, Sheku F. Bangura said the project design is vast and meant to deepen the interventions in strengthening the capacity of local councils.

He added that he is delighted to launch solid and well-reformed interventions thereby touching critical areas identified as weaknesses in the effectiveness of delivery of basic services at the local level.

He added that the project has some critical support that is very crucial in building the country’s systems like the accountability structures, internal audit architecture within government, and others. Noting that even though, the project touches so many other ministries and agencies, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural should own the process in providing strong oversight within the Local Government System on delivery services across the board.

Deputy Minister Sheku Bangura added that the Ministry of Finance has played a central role in the effective coordination of all the agencies that are overseeing different components in the projects. Thereby commits the Ministry’s support the project is being executed effectively and efficiently.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Tamba Lamina appreciated the World Bank support and stated that they have been an integral part of the process.

As the supervising ministry, he noted that their system should be strengthened in monitoring the 22 local councils especially on activities that are currently undertaken by the local councils.

The World Bank Country Manager, Abdu Muwonge said he is a firm believer of accountability, transparency, and service delivery hence the implementation of the projects.

The issue of weaknesses in the systems once tackled he said would lead to better service delivery for the citizens of Sierra Leone.

“I believe with the leadership at the Ministry of Finance and a strong steering committee we can deliver on all the components of the project in four years instead of the Six-year project timeline” he added.

Principal Deputy Financial Secretary Mathew Dingie statement on the effectiveness of the project stated that the government has met all project effectiveness conditions by recruiting core project staff through an open and competitive process and developing the annual work plan that has been approved.

He commits to the implementation of the project within the project timeline, stating that this Accountable Governance for Basic Services delivery Project is a taste case to show that government can implement a project within the project time frame.

NaCSA Commences Training of Trainers on SSN Data Collection, Targeting and Enrolment Procedures.

The National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) has commenced training of trainers on the Covid-19 Ep Fet Po/Social Safety Nets (Covid-19 Ep Fet Po/SSN) data collection, targeting and enrolment processes and procedures.  The training captures all relevant parties including NaCSA staff, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Statistics Sierra Leone (Stats-SL), National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), and the Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issues (SLUDi). 

The essence of the training is to capacitate trainers on the appropriate use of the Community entry protocols, the Proxy Means Test Process, enrolment, Grievance Redress mechanisms and referral pathways, monitoring and evaluation, communication and citizens engagement, financial management and targeting and enrolment tools. It is expected that after this training, the team members will be in a better position to train the social protection (SP) Volunteers which will enhance date quality.

This intervention is to ensure error free data, targeting and enrolment of potential beneficiaries of the Covid-19 Ep Fet Po/SSN project; which is part of the Government of Sierra Leone’s Quick Action Economic Response Program (QAERP) to address the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on people’s livelihoods. The program is funded by the Government of Sierra Leone, the World Bank and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Speaking to attendees, the Senior Director of Programme Development and Quality Assurance (PDQA) – Dr. Susan Robert reiterated on the need for SP volunteers and all parties involved in targeting enrolment to ensure that the data submitted are error free data and should be in line with the standard targeting and enrolment protocol. ‘’we are working assiduously with all stakeholders to ensure that the right persons are targeted, focusing on extremely poor and vulnerable Sierra Leoneans including PWDs. We are mindful that we have a reporting responsibility to the Government of Sierra Leone donor partners…’’ She concluded.

The Director-National Social Protection Secretariat (NSPS), Idris Turay pleaded with trainers to be very deliberate about monitoring of processes and further engage all relevant parties to ensure that protocols are followed to the latter. He emphasized that the Commission and implementation partners are no longer taking chances of data quality. ‘’… we have provided the needed logistics for ACC to do ‘back checks’ especially in ensuring the presence of PWDs in a household before enrolling such households as one with PWDs. Any household found guilty of misleading enumerators on such must have limited enrolment chance. We have further positioned an aggregate server to ensure real time data collection. He ended.

Representatives from the Anti-Corruption Commission and Statistics Sierra Leone made a commitment to working earnestly with protocols.

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