Putting inclusion firmly on the agenda

SABI has held a forum for its partners and other stakeholders to share and learn from their experiences in promoting gender equality and social inclusion.

The Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Learning Event was held in Freetown to share work and learning from the SABI programme to date, with the aim of putting inclusion firmly on the agenda.

More than 30 representatives from civil society organisations from every district across the country, government ministries, departments and agencies, district councils and community members attended the event.

At the event, Jeanne Kamara, Sierra Leone country manager for Christian Aid, which manages the UK aid-funded SABI programme, reaffirmed a commitment to promote gender equality and social inclusion as one of the international development agency’s strategies to end poverty.

Saiku Bah, SABI’s head of programme, emphasised that in working to attain the Sustainable Development Goal to ‘Leave no one behind’, development organisations would need to put GESI ‘at the heart of programme design and implementation’.

‘This is particularly relevant given the fact that women make up over half of the population of Sierra Leone,’ he added. ‘Over a third of the population are between the ages of 15 to 35 and a significant number are persons with disability, given the recent dark history related to the war.’

 

'Development organisations need to put gender equality and social inclusion at the heart of programme design and implementation.'
Saiku Bah, SABI head of programme

SABI has adopted various best practices to ensure GESI is embedded and ‘mainstreamed’ in the programme – it has a GESI strategy, guiding principles and checklist, conducts an annual GESI audit, and covers GESI in monitoring and reporting tools including its recent Citizen Perception Survey (CPS) and Kobo Collect. There is also a GESI focal point on the SABI team.

Those at the event acknowledged challenges, while recognising the need to make deliberate efforts to adopt GESI-sensitive approaches, as SABI has. Many proposed to take SABI’s best practices on GESI back to their own organisations, and took away further information about GESI provided by the programme on the day.

Participants also commended the CPS findings, which are helping improve their service delivery. The representative from the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) stated that survey findings had helped them improve on provision of identity cards for their targets in their social protection programme.