The Ministry of Planning and Economic Development has facilitated the donation of items worth forty-five thousand US dollars, courtesy of the Catholic Relief Service (CRS), to the Western Area Urban and Falaba District COVID-19 Emergency Response Centres ,respectively, to augment government’s efforts in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic in Sierra Leone.
The items included: computers, printers and toner cartridges, motorbikes with helmets, megaphones with batteries, thermometers with batteries and rain gears among others.
In giving the background, DrAzeezOseni, Head of Programmes CRS said they mobilised resources internally to respond to a call made by MoPED to NGOs (national and International) to support the Government in fighting the corona virus disease. DrAzeezOseni praised the Minister for the visionary leadership he displayed within a short period to change the NGO landscape that has been very conducive for development implementation.
He went on further to say that what motivated CRS and the INGOs was the coordinated approach MoPED employed in engaging them to respond to the COVID-19 Response, which he said, had paid off immensely as there was avoidance of duplication of efforts and wastage of resources.
The CRS Regional Director for West Africa, Jennifer Overton applauded the Minister for his leadership in coordinating the NGOs. She said it was novel and strategic as it helped to minimise the chaos that happened in previous crisis situations in which NGOs were running like wild geese with no coordination and often, wastage of resources and less impact. She commended Sierra Leoneans for their resilience in surviving various crisis that had befallen the country.
In his statement, The Minister of Planning and Economic Development Dr Francis Kai-Kai praised CRS for their support to Sierra Leone since Independence in all facets of society. He noted President Bio’s proactive measures taken when the world became aware of the Corona virus outbreak in China. He said some of the measures involved mobilising development partners in a coordinated manner to ensure all hands were on deck with a united strategy. Dr. Kai-Kai said the donation from CRS was a pleasant but open surprise due to the nature of relationship between Sierra Leone and the CRS that had now been recently elevated to diplomatic level. He called on all present to applaud and celebrate CRS for their demonstration of continued support to development initiatives in Sierra Leone.
Dr Kai-Kai went on to say that the donation from CRS to the DICOVERCs of Falaba and Western Urban was appropriate as Western Urban was the epicentre of the COVID-19 and Falaba, a new and deprived district.
The DICOVERC Coordinator for Western Urban, Miatta French, on behalf of NACOVERC appreciated CRS for their continued support to the COVID-19 response in the country. She said such donations from NGOs have helped them in the fight against COVID-19 which has massively contributed to the fall in COVID-19 cases in the country.
The National NGO Coordinator, Eric Massallay commended CRS for responding to the call of the Government of Sierra Leone through MoPED. He said CRS had continued to demonstrate strategic leadership in mobilizing other NGOs in the two districts they oversee to fight against the COVID-19. Mr. Massallay noted that Falaba, being a very new district would appreciate the donated items in the COVID fight.