CPS launch: ‘This has come directly from the people – it is bound to have an impact.’

Sierra Leone’s Auditor General believes ‘citizens making their voices heard’ is essential for leaders to understand and respond to the country’s most urgent needs.

Lara Taylor-Pearce, speaking at the official launch of SABI’s national Citizen Perception Survey (CPS), added: ‘Citizens need to hold providers of services to account. This can only happen when the information used by such providers is easily accessible.

‘It is only then that the vulnerable and least considered areas are brought to the fore for action to be taken. The simple fact that the information in the report has come directly from the people on the ground, it is bound to have an impact.’

Following a year of research, involving 594 communities, 80 wards and 40 chiefdoms from all 14 districts of Sierra Leone, SABI launched the CPS on May 24 at an event at the British Council, Freetown, attended by government officials, community members and media from across the country.

The CPS is one of SABI’s key components, including data from interviews with heads of households, pregnant women, new mothers, school pupils, adolescents, Ebola survivors and people with disabilities. SABI hopes the survey results will prove to be a unique, ground-breaking and historic dataset used by decision makers and other key stakeholders as a tool to help improve service delivery across Sierra Leone.

‘We have data from more than 45,000 individuals. We believe that we are creating a unique national resource in Sierra Leone, in terms of the geographic, thematic and demographic coverage of the data,’ said Jane East, SABI team leader.

The SABI dataset presents a national picture of where the needs are greatest – in which services, in which geographic areas. Our dataset is a case for change and a case for prioritisation, to which communities can hold political leaders to account.
Jane East, SABI team leader

‘Good development needs good data. The new government needs good data – evidence which will help it to shape and deliver its services in the most effective way.’

Ms Taylor-Pearce called for the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning and other key ministries covering issues identified in the document to be engaged around the survey’s findings.

‘I encourage all ministries, department and agencies in the public service, as well as players in the NGO world, to work together for an accountable and transparent Sierra Leone,’ the Auditor General said.

‘There are many areas of concern to the citizens, and these areas need to be given significant attention in order to move our country forward. It is clear that we are all eager to live better lives, and get the best possible services available in the country.’

Funded by UK aid, from the UK Government’s Department for International Development, the goal of SABI, which stands for Strengthening Accountability, Building Inclusion, is to strengthen delivery of the Local Government Act by supporting mechanisms for citizens to hold local government to account, allowing communities, service providers and local officials to identify concerns and work together to tackle issues.

A full report of the Citizen Perception Survey, and all the data it generated, are available here.

Facts on the Citizen Perception Survey

  • The Citizen Perception Survey collected data from:
    • 594 communities;
    • 80 wards;
    • 40 chiefdoms; and
    • All 14 districts.
  • Respondents included:
    • Heads of households;
    • Pregnant women and new mothers;
    • School pupils;
    • Adolescents;
    • Ebola survivors;
    • Recipients of cash transfers;
    • People with disabilities; and
    • Young people involved in labour-intensive public work.
  • Areas surveyed were:
    • Health;
    • Education;
    • Social protection services; and
    • General governance.
  • Findings have been shared with:
    • Ward development committees,
    • Traditional leaders,
    • Front line service providers (teachers & nurses)
    • Communities
    • District councils,
    • District and national level ministries,
    • Departments; and
    • Agencies.
  • The survey will allow institutions to identify concerns, based on evidence, and work together to tackle key issues.
  • Takes the voice of citizens into account in their own development planning.
  • SABI plans to carry out at least three more Citizen Perception Surveys during 2018-19

For more information contact Saiku Bah, SABI Head of Programme at: sbah@christian-aid.org.