‘SABI inspired a councillor in Karene District’

Councilor Foday Amara Yansaneh, (Deputy Chairman Karene District Council)

In 2017, SABI expanded to Karene District, North-West Province of Sierra Leone, to continue giving citizen’s a voice, improving accountability and building relationships between service providers and service users.

With a strong emphasis on gender equality and social inclusion (GESI), SABI engaged communities, councils and other MDAs in Karene District, on the need to priorities inclusion as well as issues related to transparency and accountability to excluded groups.

This motivated councillors to embrace persons living with disability (PWDs) and include them at the mainstream of decision making within the council.

Councillor Foday Amara Yansaneh, (Deputy Chairman Karene District Council), who is also Chairman for Budget and Finance, has been motivated by the SABI GESI strategy, and is actively promoting the advancement of persons with living with disability in Karene District.

He said: ‘When SABI came and started explaining to us about no one left behind, and the need to include persons with disabilities in development, we were moved as a council. This ongoing engagement from SABI, gradually changed our attitude towards persons with disabilities and now we consider them as people that we can associate with so that they feel part of our wider community.

So, what we did as a council, we called all the councillors and insisted that every councillor within the 21 wards in Karene district, should have at least two persons with disability in their ward committees, to enable them to be part of decision making and the council. Today there’s no ward committee in Karene Districts who hasn’t got two disabled persons within their membership.

Development in Karene District is slow because it’s a new district, but we are very proud that this happened successfully and so we thank SABI for helping us to put inclusion firmly on the agenda, now persons with disability will have a voice in Karene District.

Councillor Yansaneh further explained that they are now thinking about capacity building for persons with disabilities so that they can serve within the council, and become active citizens, who contribute to development work.

20-year-old Sajor Marrah

A typical example is 20-year-old Sajor Marrah, a person living with disability from the Karene District, Sella Limba Coalition. Sajor was identified by the council and was enrolled into a computer course in Makeni, to improve her skills with the goal of handling all correspondence of the council after graduation.

SABI is an accountability programme that models the change it wants to see, and this is gradually been passed on MDAs through partnerships and coordination at community, district and national levels.

Gender equality and social inclusion are central to the work of SABI, that is recognising that all citizens, regardless of sex, age, class, ability status should be informed, consulted and involved in the programme to create improved accountability of services to all.