National launch of the SABI programme

Singers at the SABI launch event March 2017

Singers at the SABI launch event March 2017

The SABI programme, which seeks to strengthen community-led accountability in every district of Sierra Leone and improve the delivery of basic services – including health, education, social protection, water and energy – has been officially launched at an event in Freetown.

The Strengthening Community-Led Accountability for Improved Service Delivery in Sierra Leone Programme, known popularly as SABI, is building relationships between citizens and the state, and encouraging citizens to fulfil their own responsibilities for social amenities.

The four-year programme is funded by UK aid, from the UK Government’s Department for International Development, and is being delivered by a consortium of leading international and Sierra Leonean partners, led by international development agency Christian Aid.

Gender equality and social inclusion are central to SABI, which will ensure vulnerable and excluded groups have the skills and support they need to become active agents of change in their communities.

SABI is working alongside but independently of the Presidential Delivery Team (PDT) in supporting the Presidential Recovery Priorities (PRP) plan.

Introducing SABI

SABI launch event

At the launch event, held at the British Council, Freetown, on Tuesday, March 14, the keynote address was delivered by the Chief of Staff, Office of the President. Other speakers included British High Commissioner Guy Warrington, Christian Aid’s Sierra Leone country manager Jeanne Kamara, SABI team leader Amanda Bangura, and representatives of the PDT.

Stage at the SABI Sierra Leone launch event, at the British Council, Freetown, Sierra Leone, on 14 March 2017

SABI Sierra Leone launch event, at the British Council, Freetown, on 14 March 2017

The event also featured a short film explaining how SABI works and a special performance by people living with disabilities to demonstrate the inclusivity of the programme. Initial data, gathered since SABI began working in communities in October 2016, was also shared. Formal proceedings were followed by a market place, where guests found out more about the organisations involved in SABI.

Amanda Bangura, SABI team leader, said:

‘SABI is a national programme which aims to support citizens and state service providers to work together to identify challenges and bring about improvements in service delivery.

‘We have high hopes for this programme. We believe that by placing citizens at the centre and forefront of development, we will support them to drive forward change and determine their development agenda alongside government.

‘We believe SABI will contribute toward lasting improvements in service delivery for all Sierra Leoneans – including women, men, young people and people with disabilities – and help to strengthen the implementation of the Local Government Act, 2004.’

 

Richard Carter, Social Development Advisor for the UK Government’s Department for International Development, Sierra Leone, said:

‘We see SABI as having a critical role in putting people at the centre of the development process, which is the ultimate intention of any development programme.

‘We have provided funding for the project for four years, recognising that these processes take time. The programme will try to build into community structures. We are hoping this investment will have a life beyond our actual funding and become part of the reality of service delivery in Sierra Leone.

‘We hope the SABI programme ultimately delivers a lasting, sustainable relationship between the citizens and those delivering the services, so that this relationship continues into the future and benefits both parties.’