The summit which aimed to promote dialogue between citizens and the state actors and to enable them to find lasting solutions to improve service delivery across the country, attracted non-governmental organizations, media, ward development committees, councillors, paramount chiefs, youth leaders, women’s group, civil society groups, international partners, community development volunteers (CDV), local council officials and other stakeholders.
Head of Programme of SABI, Saiku M. Bah explained that they are excited to host the inaugural summit. He said improving essential services is key to breaking the barriers of development, unlocking national potential and creating an environment where people can thrive.
He added that the summit is a unique opportunity to hear the voices of women and men, young and old, about the issues that affect their lives. “We look forward to providing platform to citizens and state service providers in the country. We hope that together we can overcome the challenges identified in the citizen perception surveys and take up our shared responsibility to work for the betterment of our society.”
Social Development Adviser of Department for International Development (DFID), Rachael Freeth said that the work that SABI is doing is very critical and essential towards the development of the country. “It is really impressive and inspiring to see communities actively engaged in supporting development initiatives in their communities,” she said.
She called on the community members to continue doing community development plans as it will enable their communities to improve.
She said that SABI is collecting data on the services in the various communities, what their priorities are; service delivery and how those services can be improved. “We can use those data in our programme.”
She added that SABI is there to build productive relationship between the government and its citizens, enable local people feel empowered to bring about change in their localities and influence the ways services are being delivered in their communities.
Country Manager of Christian Aid, Jeanne Kamara explained that SABI programme is focusing on health, education, social protection, water and energy. She added that programme will create a platform where citizens express themselves on the dying need of the society.
In his presentation on chiefdom/ward action plan, the Secretary of Ward 034 in Nongowa Chiefdom, Kenema District, Mohamed Fofanah said the Periphery Health Unit (PHU) in Talia Makaya is not functioning; inadequate building structure in KDC Primary school in Panderu; difficult to access public toilet for people with disabilities (PWDs) in KDC Primary school in Hangha. He said the community and the relevant stakeholders have almost addressed these problems.
“I assure you that we will able to take care of our community when the programme will fold up,” he maintained.
SABI is UKaid funded programmed that runs from 2016–2019. Christian Aid is the leading implementing NGO. It other key activities include communicating Presidential Recovery Priorities/entitlement to services through national radio programmes and discussions with communities; strengthening community structures such as ward development committees and community based organizations; facilitating relationships for problem solving between state service providers and communities/citizens; and sharing knowledge of what works and what does not through rigorous monitoring, sharing of information and radio programmes.