Largo community uses SABI approach to get improved services

Largo community uses SABI approach to get improved services

In Largo Community (15 Miles from Kenema Town), Nongowa Chiefdom, Kenema District, community people and stakeholders now use knowledge and skills gained from the SABI programme to initiate community projects and energize their challenges, on a day by day basis.

As population increased in Largo, insufficient water supply became a major concern for stakeholders in the community. In 2017, people in Largo experienced shortage of water as their wells run dry. This forces them to travel to neighboring villages to fetch more water for their basic needs. Schools pupils were going to school late because they assisted their parents to fetch water and general hygiene standards were low. This led to the outbreak of diseases in the community.

In 2018, SABI facilitated an inclusive session on problem solving, known as the problem priority matrix. Community people and stakeholders in Largo, learned how to prioritize their problems, develop action plan and use the accountable governance pathway to obtain support. Through it all, SABI instilled a strong sense of gender equality and social inclusion – GESI.

With this knowledge, people in Largo, led by their Councillor (Councillor K. Bockarie), including SEND Sierra Leone, a SABI partner in the East, approached the district council with their action plan and a cover letter explaining their constrains with water. The presentation was well received by authorities in the district council, noting that communities like Largo are now rising up to their challenge. This cuts the solution in half, upon approval, the district council decided at act.

Largo Community now has 10 water facilities. Pupils no longer go to school late.

 

Citizens of Largo now has access to clean running water.

 

Including a renovated reservoir that serves the community.

In August 2018, the district council commissioned a water project for schools, health center and the wider community. The community now has 10 working taps and a renovated the reservoir that provides water for people in Largo. About 4000 people now benefit from this water supply. Hygiene conditions have improved and pupils no longer show up late at school due to water struggles in the morning.

 

Before I used to go far to fetch water to cook, but now I can cook quick for my husband because we have water now. We do not go late for prayers anymore because we have water to clean ourselves – Janet Kallon – Community Member Largo.

 

SABI will go, but SABI is still here, what they have taught us will still remain with us even if the programme scales down. So to us SABI is still here. We have learnt – Chief Brima Bockarie – Section Chief Largo.

 

With the accountable governance pathways, we can get anything we want, It’s just a matter of time. We will continuously put this into action to solve other problems here – Councillor K. Bockarie – Councillor Largo Community.

The taps are monitored by the elders in the community. When any of the water facilities develop a problem, the elders call an inclusive meeting, during which they contribute Le 10,000 per household, to fix the problem.

With the success achieved in water supply, stakeholders in Largo decided to repeat the same method to solve other problems in their action plan. This time, they determined to lead with learnings from SABI.

Councillor K. Bockarie and the Section Chief (Chief Brima Bockarie) called up another meeting and discussed the next item on the action plan. Women and persons with disability recommended that the community obtain its own market place to improve their economic status in the community. Stakeholders agreed.

Inclusion of everyone in community development.

SABI has taught us to include everyone in decision making here. We already knew that if we don’t empower our women we will not eat, that is why when SABI introduced GESI, we automatically embraced it – Councillor K. Bockarie – Councillor Largo Community.

As it happened before, but this time led by the Paramount in Largo, (PC Sadiq Mahmoud Kapuwa), – Stakeholders approach the Kenema district council with the problem and evidence that justifies the urgent need for a market place. The district council solicited support from National Commission for Social Action (NACSA), who had an ongoing project, providing facilities in communities.

The proposal from Largo was approved, NACSA commissioned the building of an accessible market place in Largo Community in July 2020. Councillor K. Bockarie and the Town Chief further suggested that NACSA includes the construction of a ramp in all the schools in Largo, and that was approved too.

Largo market place in the construction process.

This market place when completed will benefit more than 4000 people, including women, youths, persons with disability etc. because the neighbouring villages will join Largo community to organize open market days.

Largo is now a vibrant community. They continue to raise concerns, mobilize resource and support to solve their problems.

In front (Stakeholders in Largo) and Foreground (SABI monitoring team – Christian Aid and SEND Sierra Leone).

SABI has addressed the numerous barriers that prevent citizens from effectively engaging with service providers and decision makers. The project has promoted the participation and leadership of women, young people, people with disabilities and other marginalized groups in decision making.