Kpandebu citizens solves multiple problems

Kpandebu citizens solves multiple problems.

The PHU in Kpandebu Community, Dama Chiefdom, Kenema District, have been running for more than a year without a freezer. The absence of a cooling facility created difficulties for drugs to be administered on time, especially during vaccination campaigns and maternal health week. The health center staff usually travel to Geima, 6 miles from Kpandebu to store vaccines in a cool storage. Sometimes transportation contains makes it more difficult to bring in new vaccines, this led to a reduction in clinic attendance.

Restless Development Youth Accountability Volunteers (YAVs) started raising awareness on the importance of the health facility, during general clinic days.

SEND Sierra Leone mobilized the CHO (Lilly E. Moiwai) and the Councillor (Ibrahim Mohamed Konneh), to engage the DHMT and district council in a partner’s coordination meeting, using the SABI inspired action. They raised concern on the problems and ineffectiveness experienced in the PHU, due to the unavailability of freezer in the unit. SEND Sierra Leone provided additional information on the inclusive processes, that led to the development of action plan, and how the accountable governance pathways established a linkage from their community to district level.

The DHMT alerted the health supervisors in the district and encouraged them to prioritize Kpandebu PHU for equipment support.

New Freezer Allocated to Kpandebu Dama PHU.

In June 2018, a new freezer was assigned to the Kpandebu. The provision of freezer also solved the problem of low clinic attendance and the unavailability of vaccines on time.

The unavailability of freezer affected the smooth running of the PHU. But thank God we have a freezer now, things are back to normal. SABI showed us the right steps to take – Lilly E. Moiwai – CHO and Chiefdom Supervisor, Kpandebu Dama.

Motivated by SABI, the people of Kpandebu now know what they wanted. They held another meeting to discuss next steps for their PHU, involving everyone, including men, women, young people and persons with disability.

During the meeting, women recommended that they work together to construct a female observation and birth waiting room to support women in the community. The CHO saw the need and explained that the PHU is constrained with space, sometimes women wait outside during clinic visits. Persons with disability adding their voice by recommending a ramp on each the building, and Councillor (Ibrahim Mohamed Konneh) volunteered to see to it.

We appreciate SABI and SEND Sierra Leone for encouraging women in this community. Now our people listen to us and they call us in every meeting – Jita Sannoh, Community Member, Kpandebu Community.

A Newly Constructed Birth Waiting Room at Kpandebu PHU.

 

From Left; Councillor (Ibrahim Mohamed Konneh), CHO (Lilly E. Moiwai), Alhaji F. Koroma (Project Officer – SEND Sierra Leone) and Christian Aid Programme Support Officer (Kumba Fillie-Faboe) in front of the birth waiting room.

They continued their home-grown support by mobilizing resources, and in one month, an extension building was constructed, which now serve as the birth waiting room at the PHU. Both buildings gave access to persons with disability in the community.

About 2000 people from all over the catchment now benefit from the timely supply of vaccines, and women will no longer wait because of lack of space.

Similarly, two striking problems remain;

The Kpandebu Dama Primary School didn’t have enough furniture for pupils. Teachers were waiting for the Government to provide school furniture for the school. Meanwhile, letters written to the Ministry of Education did not return with any constructive feedback.

Secondly, the wider community is challenged with water. The only way they got water, was from an old well, unhealthy because it is not hygienic.

The old water facility in Kpandebu Community.

As stated in their action plan, they need to increase school furniture to improve the environment of learning for their children, and obtain a new water facility.

SEND Sierra Leone guided the conversation and encouraged the stakeholders in Kpandebu, to put the accountable governance pathways to use, and schedule an appointment with the right people to engage. The Councillor, CHO and school authorities worked together, and advocated for school furniture and clean water supply for the school and wider community. Just as before, there request did not fall on deaf ears.

In September 2018, the Kenema district council and Ministry of Education provided new benches and desks for the school, and contracted HADISA Sierra Leone, with support from the central government, to construct a water tower in the community. Children now have enough benches in school and clean water is now available.

School furniture now available at the Primary School in Kpandebu Community.

 

New water facility in Kpandebu Community.

I feel like the burden have reduced on council because people are now taking responsibility of their own development. We really appreciate SABI for teaching them know their roles and responsibilities – Seibatu Koroma, DPO Kenema District Council.

All development projects in Kpandebu community, are now being monitored by Ward Development Committees (WDCs).

Upon hearing the success at Kpandebu, stakeholders in Taninahum, a non-SABI community, 7 miles away from Kpandebu, decided to visit Kpandebu to learn their methods.

During this learning visit, the Town Chief from Taninahun (Chief Ansumana Konneh) explained that they do not have a school, and that they’ve heard stories of how Restless Development and SEND Sierra Leone have been helping to give them a voice, through the SABI project.

Councillor (Ibrahim Mohamed Konneh) shared his experience on what Kpandebu have learnt from the SABI project, including GESI, Action Planning, Accountable Governance Pathways, and how they have been able to undertake their own projects.

We’re very happy to share our experience with Taninahun because the aim of learning from SABI is to create change, and we think they ned it –  Ibrahim Mohamed Konneh, Councillor.

Mamie Swarray, an active woman in Kpandebu, encouraged the Town Chief to include everyone in their meetings, because everyone’s contribution matters. That way, they will develop faster.

If it’s one thing I am happy about, it is the fact that women can now contribute to development in my community – Mamie Swarray, Community Member.

With this new found knowledge, Chief Ansumana Konneh confidently returned to Taninahun and engaged his people. In three months, the people of Taninahun mobilised themselves and raised their own resources (including; land, bricks, sticks, zinc, iron rod, nail, stones food for work), through household contributions and proceeds obtained after harvest.

Councillor (Ibrahim Mohamed Konneh) provided oversight support to make sure the school was structured for approval by the Ministry of Education. Stakeholders in Taninahun worked with a local contractor to erect the structure.

In January 2019, the school was opened, with classes from 1 to 5.

New school structure constructed in Taninahun Community.

Now 110 children are going to school in Taninahun community, including 3 children with disability. Councillor (Ibrahim Mohamed Konneh) and Chief Ansumana Konneh have engaged council to obtain approval for the school.

I think we have learnt, and we will learn more from Kpandebu. We have never been this united in Taninahun, but SABI has proven that if we work together, anything is possible, that is why Kpandebu embraced us in the first place – Ansumana Konneh, Town Chief Taninahun.

The intervention of SABI in Kpandebu Community has boosted cohesion and increased citizen’s (including men, women, young people, persons with disabilities) pro-activeness to raise concerns relating to service delivery, and work together with their elected representatives and state service providers, to find gender-equal and socially inclusive solutions to service delivery problems.