How SABI inspired a community to think GESI

How SABI inspired a community to think GESI

Lessons learnt on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) led by SABI, have given rise to a community of GESI thinkers, in Ngelehun Community, Badgia Chiefdom, Bo District.

Enabling women and persons with disability to speak up, be part of community projects and access facilities, is now the new code, and stakeholders willingly consider this in everyday decision making.

Four years ago, Ngelehun Badgia was not warm and welcoming for women and persons with disability. Most major decisions were taken on behalf of them, and their presence could only be felt during general market days, better known as ‘LUMA’, even when they show up, they don’t lead, they usually engage in business and help out with work.

After the intervention of SABI, with 2 years of non-stop GESI sensitization, the community now has 3 active women’s groups, with a vibrant Women’s Leader and 1 Persons with disability action group. These groups are now being invited to meetings and their opinions recorded for every sitting. Women now undertake their own activities, not just farming to feed the community, but they mobilize themselves to support community projects.

In August 2018, women and persons with disability raised a concern about the school not having a ramp and their usual health centre in Njagbahun (12miles from Ngelehun Badgia), not accessible to most women.

The councillor (Patrick S. Mustapha), Youth Leader (Hinga Blackie), Chiefdom Speaker (Chief Joseph Ansumana Blackie) and Women’s Leader (Bowe Serri) called a general meeting and sounded everyone’s opinion, they agreed to initiate two community projects, to build a ramp at the school and erect a new health centre structure. Councillor Patrick S. Mustapha promised to discuss the issue at council meeting before their next meeting. They added these concerns to their existing action plan and went to work.

We are very proud of the level of unity and commitment that SABI has inspired in this community. We have no doubt that this community will have a brighter future – Youth Leader (Hinga Blackie),

The women’s groups and youth groups in Ngelehun Badgia worked together and mobilized local resources like mud, sticks, stones, food etc. to support the project. Soon they realised that in order to fix the ramp, they needed to renovate some parts of the school building. They did not give up, instead they extended their plan to take effect after the rains.

With the councillor advocating at district level and the community with this level of commitment, the people were determined to make a change.

Early 2019, their community project too flight. They finally constructed two separate structures in nearby locations to serve as health posts, and renovated the school. Both buildings are almost finished, and the councillor used the accountable governance pathways to solicit support from the Bo DHMT and Ministry of Education. Plans are well underway to receive support from the district representatives, when the project is completed.

School renovation completed.

Meanwhile, the community remains resolute, with Gender Equality and Social Inclusion – GESI.

This is why this community was slow, now we know, that there’s a lot to achieve if we work together. Thanks to SABI. Because we are together, all other projects that community now, works with our need, that was the first thing that SABI taught us – Chief Joseph Ansumana Blackie, Chiefdom Speaker.

 

I am happy, because I lived in this community when women had no saying, I’m still living in it when things have changed. Me and my women are determined to play our part in the community – Bowe Serri, Women’s Leader.

 

SABI has given us the right tool, that action plan and accountable governance pathway. Even if you were living in the dark, those two documents can bring you to the light – Patrick S. Mustapha, Councillor.