UK’s Africa minister visits SABI community

The UK government’s Minister for African Affairs has heard how people in communities reached by the SABI programme now have greater awareness about their rights and entitlements around the delivery of essential services, such as health and education.

Harriet Baldwin MP visited Gbendenbu, west of Freetown, for an interactive session with community members and to find out the impact SABI has had on their lives.

A youth leader told her the community had taken action by engaging the Minister of Health on the issue of having a primary healthcare unit in the community, while new mothers and pregnant women mentioned new local bye-laws around home births, which they believed had been introduced after awareness raising through SABI.

Teachers explained interaction they had had with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the district council around improving learning materials and the provision of teachers. The community school is being renovated after action taken immediately after the community became part of SABI.

Ms Baldwin was interested to know if local politicians had been responsive in acknowledging and addressing problems identified in the community’s action plan, developed through SABI. Community members said they had presented their action plan to their councillor and MP, and plans were being made for regular meetings with their representatives to discuss key issues. SABI has also helped the community to understand they should be holding the council and their MP accountable.

SABI is a four-year citizen-led accountability programme funded by UK aid from the UK Government and implemented by a consortium of leading international and Sierra Leonean partners, led by international development agency Christian Aid.