‘Increase the knowledge of our people on rights and responsibilities’, say councillors

The Deputy Chief Administrator, Henry Powel

A vital part of the SABI programme has been presenting evidence and data around citizens’ perceptions of service delivery.

In Nyandehun Junction, ward 19, Jawei Chiefdom, Kailahun District, the community identified acute issues from the data, and ranked the lack of a primary healthcare unit (PHU) as the most urgent issue.

The people of Nyandehun worked together with SABI partner SEND and developed an action plan to address the issue.

SEND presented the action plan at District Council and District Health Management Team (DHMT) meetings and explained how SABI had supported the action plan process, creating a connection between district and local levels.

Ward development committee member Gbessay Samuel, councillor Lamin Kallon, youth leader Sao Lansana, Ginna Lansana, a representative of the disabled community, and women’s leader Fatou Koroma took the action plan to a meeting with District Medical Officer Dr Desmond Kagbai, the DHMT, council members and SEND, and explained the impact of having no PHU in the community.

Kekeh Sahr, Chairman of Kailahun District Council, said: ‘I am very pleased to see community people taking responsibility and advocating for the availability of services. This is a good sign of inclusion and partnership.’

The DMO sent members of the DHMT to assess Nyandehun community and later confirmed a PHU was needed there. The cost of building a new PHU was included in the health budget for 2019 and when funds become available, the DHMT will work with the council to build it.

Meanwhile, the community in Nyandehun has mobilised local resources, including land, in readiness for the project.

When new councillors were elected in Kailahun District, the Deputy Chief Administrator (DCA) Henry Powel and Development Planning Officer Adu Kondovor provided an update on the range of development activities going on in the district, and mentioned SABI as an inclusive and evidence-based programme supporting communities to develop action plans currently addressing development challenges.

Henry Powel cited Nyandehun community as an example of community ownership, and added: ‘Councils do not have enough resources and technical skills to reach everyone in Kailahun District, and document their felt need in service delivery. The action plans that communities have developed have helped to boost the development plans of the council.’

The Deputy Chief Administrator, Henry Powel

Mr Powel further encouraged councillors to make use of the good relationship between SABI and the council.

Councillors from Kissi Tungi, Kissi Teng, Kissi Kama, Mandu, Peje West and Penguia Chiefdoms, which are not SABI targeted wards, approached SEND in Kailahun Town, to get advice on how to mirror SABI processes in their areas.

Nancy Coomber, Deputy Chairperson of Kailahun District Council and councillor for Mandu Chiefdom, ward 12, said: ‘We want SABI to at least come and increase the knowledge of our people on rights and responsibilities, so that they take up ownership and responsibility of development. We the councillors cannot do it alone.’

SEND provided information on SABI community engagements and shared the accountable governance pathways as a learning product to help them channel their issues to the appropriate authorities and obtain positive results.