SABI intervention improves the work of Tonkolili District Council

In Tonkolili District, Northern Sierra Leone, frontline service providers and citizen were not used to holding inclusive meetings that enabled frank conversations on health, education and social protection.


SABI changed things for the better

SABI Team at the Tonkolili District Council

The intervention of SABI in 2016, increased the flow of coordination meetings where service delivery issues were channelled through the District Council.

By supporting communities in Tonkolili District to develop actions plans and raise concerns to District Authorities through their Councillor, SABI enabled the Council to understand the diverse challenges faced by communities in Tonkolili District, operationalized their development plan, and boosted the intervention of the Council in communities in soliciting more support during coordination meetings.

With knowledge increase from policy literacy sessions, the action plan and the accountable governance pathways; people at the community, ward and district level, came halfway to solving their own problems.

A fundamental problem of the District Council is that it cannot work in every community due to scare resources, now find it easier to support citizens because they understand the functions of the Council and they team up with their Councillors to advocate on behalf of their respective communities using an inclusive action plan. This further demonstrates citizens ability to engage in evidence-based advocacy.


SABI laid the foundation for improved relationships

To build relationships and create a more informed citizenry in Tonkolili District, SABI conducted district service summits, which brought together influential representatives from civil society, district councils, partner organisations, the media and government line ministries. This event showcased the existing gaps in service delivery and developed workable solutions moving forward. Through it all, it strengthened the relationship between front-line service providers and service users.

Today, citizens in Tonkolili District, have a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities and show confidence in demanding improved services. They are able to develop their initiative and work with their Councillor to actualize them.

Take Masoko and Yoni communities for instance; these are two large communities located widely apart from the district headquarter town of Mabguraka, in Tonkolili District. In each of these community’s people worked together on a health centre for all project. They mobilised people and local resources through their Councillor and divided labour among youth, women and young people. They erected the structure and approached their District Council for assistance to finalise and approved the structure based on their action plan, and through the oversight of the District Health Management Team (DHMT). Today, both communities have their very own health facilities. Providing healthcare services to more than 1000 people within the district.

Ibrahim Allen Sowa, Development and Planning Officer – Tonkolili District.

SABI has enabled the council to execute its primary mandate which is to facilitate development and improve the lives of citizens within the district. We see SABI as taking an inclusive approach that actively motivates community people and authorities to act. Our job has never been easier. We have already identified how we are going to incorporate the work of SABI, but overall, we really appreciate them for bringing us closer to the citizens.

– Ibrahim Allen Sowa, Development and Planning Officer – Tonkolili District.

The District Council in Tonkolili District has incorporated certain core approaches of the SABI programme to ensure sustainability. Including;

  • Frequent and inclusive community meetings,
  • The accountable governance pathways to increase channelling and collaboration on solving problems.
  • The annual service summits to improve service delivery
  • Gender Equality and Social Inclusion – GESI, to ensure that no one is left behind.

With an increase in the flow of coordination meetings, district officials and MDAs have become more aware of citizens’ needs and priorities. They now include community actions in their plans or use them to address issues that cannot be solved at the local level.