How Engagement with SABI has Strengthened the Advocacy Capacity and Autonomy of RADA SL

The Rehabilitation and Development Agency – RADA-SL, is an NGO empowering poor and marginalised men and women and is working in the south of Sierra Leone.

The organisation’s focus is to empower communities to lead and control their own development, through inclusive and effective participation, including social accountability.

Since 2012, RADA-SL has worked closely with communities and stakeholders, to push boundaries for increased access to basic services and raising citizen’s voice.

As a major activity, RADA-SL used monthly engagement meetings, to interface with people and stakeholders in target communities, to discuss problems and identify solutions. The organisation further used district coordination meetings with partners, as an advocacy platform to report the concerns gathered from communities. These advocacy efforts only raised awareness on the most urgent issues affecting men, women and girls at district level.

This wasn’t enough. RADA-SL needed action from influential stakeholders to resolve burning issues and improve lives. The organisation has since repositioned itself to undertake evidence-based advocacy, but internal capacity was still developing.

In 2016, RADA-SL became a partner, to a four years “strengthening Accountability, and Building Inclusion” Programme, known as SABI. This nationwide citizen’s led accountability programme was established to create a more informed and empowered citizenry, that holds effective and ongoing dialogue with better engaged and more accountable state service providers.

As lead partner in the South, RADA-SL joined a consortium of national and international organisation in Sierra Leone. The programme generated evidence of citizens’ experiences of accessing state services and supported communities to develop action plans that addresses the gaps in service delivery.

RADA-SL was also introduced to smartphone data collection, as an innovation in giving citizens a voice, using an open source data application known as KoboCollect.

 

The programme also enabled RADA-SL, to execute district service summits, where citizens and state actors discussed the findings of the citizens perception survey and agreed on workable solutions to improve services in health, education and social protection.

Through it all, RADA-SL benefited from series of smartphone data collection trainings, including data visualization, action planning and how to create responsive platforms.

RADA-SL actively participated and learned from a programme that helped Sierra Leoneans to become more active and informed citizens – better able to speak up, claim their rights, and engage with their elected representatives and service providers. The RADA-SL team, have since developed increased knowledge and skills, on evidence generation, to support all advocacy asks, with credible and verifiable data.

Today, with all core programmes in RADA-SL. The organisation does not only share community concerns at district level, the team also provides evidence to show the severity of issues identified. This has encouraged partners to put citizen’s voices at the centre of decision-making processes for improved service delivery.

This is how RADA-SL moved, from pitching problems to showing evidence.