SABI Conducts a Close-out Press Briefing.

 

Focus1000, SABI national partner, has conducted a one-day press briefing session, for journalists and MDAs; including the Decentralisation Secretariat and Ministry of Local Government; at Njala Venue, Lumley Beach Road, Freetown, on Wednesday 24th February 2021.

The objective of the event was to share close-out plans of the UKAID funded SABI programme, including sustainable gains and key lessons learnt; on how citizens-led governance and accountability worked in Sierra Leone.

The event further created an atmosphere of concentrated dialogue and strategic thinking; on how SABI inspired a shift of attitude, that led to positive citizen-state engagement, laying the foundation for transformative change in Sierra Leone.  Similarly, the event featured a fully resourced learning stall, on which evidence of SABI achievement and learning were displayed.

Dr. Samuel Abu Pratt – Director of Programmes, Focus1000: Event Chairman.

During his opening statement; Dr. Samuel Abu Pratt, Director of Programmes – Focus1000, who also doubles as the Chairman of the event, disclosed that SABI has contributed to creating a more informed and empowered citizenry in Sierra Leone. He maintained that this has enabled citizens in all SABI communities to be proactive, vibrant, and better able to speak up, claim their rights and engage with their elected representatives and service providers.

The programme has addressed the numerous barriers that prevent citizens from effectively engaging with service providers and decision makers. Today, citizens feel confident to raise concerns for the improvement of service delivery.

  – Dr. Samuel Abu Pratt, Director of Programmes – Focus1000.

 

Saiku Bah – Team Leader: SABI, Christian Aid Sierra Leone.

On behalf of the wider consortium, the Team Leader of the SABI programme, from Christian Aid – Saiku Bah, talked about the journey of the programme onto its extension, noting its unique approaches and sustainable gains achieved over the life of the project.

He underscored the significant roles of SABI partners across the country and went on to describe the consortium as a strong cadre of highly trained, critically thinking, and experienced partners, who are breaking the boundaries of traditional NGO operations in the country. This includes SEND Sierra Leone in the East, RADA Sierra Leone in the South, SLSAV in the North, Restless Development Sierra Leone at community level, in all 16 districts, and Focus1000 at national level.

 

People at community level now understand their roles and responsibility in governance. They work together to identify their felt needs, develop action plans and engage state service providers to address their challenges.

Saiku Bah – Team Leader, SABI Programme – Christian Aid Sierra Leone.

 

Focus1000 presented the briefing as follows;

The intervention of SABI has inspired a new way of working in Sierra Leone. Throughout the 4years of direct support to communities, the programme has contributed towards improvement in basic services, built relationships between citizens and the state, supported the Government’s development plan, and promoted gender equality and social inclusion.

We have shifted the focus from CSOs and NGOs working as direct service providers to supporting the state to improve its own service delivery. We have enabled citizens to move away from the traditional approach of criticizing the state, rather than recognizing the systematic challenges faced by all individuals and institutions in a resource-constrained setting.

At this stage of the programme, we have noticed that certain approaches of the programme have been upheld and replicated by target and non-target communities to solve problems. But the specific approaches that worked  particularly well include the following;

Gender Equality and Social Inclusion – GESI:

SABI has firmly put social inclusion on the agenda. With a core commitment to the meaningful participation of women, young people, and persons with disabilities, we have demonstrated a sensitive approach to gender, equality, and social inclusion. Now the participation of youth, women, and people with disabilities has increased and there is less stigmatization of persons with disabilities. More women are actively participating in governance.

See stories that demonstrate how communities are currently putting GESI to use;

Accountable Governance Pathways:

SABI’s work with communities highlighted the lack of clarity for citizens regarding the accountable governance structures that are in place to oversee education and health service delivery in Sierra Leone. SABI developed a learning product, that increased the knowledge of citizens, on how and where to raise concerns relating to service delivery. Citizens now have a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities and show confidence in demanding improved services. This is now a key stepping stone to citizens engaging with the state.

See stories that demonstrate how communities are currently using Accountable Governance Pathways to get what they want;

 

Community Action Plans:

SABI gathered evidence of citizens’ experiences of accessing state services. The programme supported communities to develop community action plans to address the key obstacles to services affecting their population. With this newfound knowledge, action plans are now used to address the numerous barriers that prevent citizens from effectively engaging with service providers and decision-makers.

See stories that demonstrate how communities are currently using Action Plans to solve their problems;

Motivated officials and service providers:

District officials and MDAs have become more aware of citizens’ needs and priorities. They have started including community actions in their plans. Ward Development Committees understand their roles and responsibilities better and have started to lobby actively for their ward. Frontline service providers are friendlier, take their jobs more seriously, and fulfill their duties more professionally. Relationships between citizens, frontline service providers, and local authorities have improved.

See stories that demonstrate how District officials and MDAs are working with communities to solve problems;

 

Overall, citizens now understand their role and have improved public services either by themselves or by lobbying with the government at different levels. Some communities have demonstrated this by using multiple approaches.

See stories that demonstrate how communities are applying multiple (SABI) approaches to solve their problems;

SABI’s profile, reputation, and acceptance by the government have grown hugely from programme inception.

Going forward

SABI will focus on sustaining the gains that have been made in citizens’ engagement with the state. We will invest in ensuring that SABI’s successes and learning continue to influence the wider development sector. We will share evidence of what has worked, and what has not.

Our goal is that following the end of the SABI programme, citizens – men, women, young people, people with disabilities, and others – will continue 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.

Download our data

The SABI data can easily be disaggregated by age, gender, location, date, and respondent type. You can develop infographics, tables, charts, dashboards, etc.

What data do you collect?

In line with this goal, we are gathering data on citizens’ perceptions of the services they are accessing. The citizen perception survey (CPS) includes country-wide data, collected from 606 communities, 80 wards, and 40 chiefdoms. It covers all 14 districts of Sierra Leone and contains over 40,000 submissions.

Why do you share it?

As part of our vision to put citizen’s voices at the center of decision-making processes for improved service delivery, we share the findings of this data set through various mediums widely, at community, ward, district and national level. We are also willing to share the raw data gathered with interested institutions, on agreement to the terms outlined in this agreement.

Go to: http://sabi-sl.org/community-data/download-our-data/

After the press briefing, a session Q&A followed. Journalists and MDAs expressed their thoughts and obtained clarifications on the results of the programme.

Elizabeth Agatha Mousah – Programme Manager, Focus1000.

Participants were directed to the resource corner, where Elizabeth Agatha Mousah – Programme Manager, Focus1000, led a learning presentation and showcased SABI changes stories, reports, brochures, and other learning products. They appreciated the programme for enlightening citizens and promoting the participation and leadership of women, young people, and persons with disabilities in decision-making.

This was the climax of the event.

 

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