The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has engaged beneficiaries of the Social Safety Net (SSN) at Bamoi village, Magbema chiefdom in Kambia district on their expected roles and responsibilities in the project.
Al-Hassan Sesay, Head of Outreach Unit, Public Education and External Outreach Department, disclosed to beneficiaries that the project seeks to alleviate poverty across communities in Sierra Leone and is the brainchild of the Government of Sierra Leone and the World Bank. He furthered that, in order to prevent beneficiaries from being short-changed of the direct cash provided to them, the ACC is sensitizing and empowering them on the fine details of the project and to report any case of short payment or other unethical conducts by persons attached to the project. This aspect of the project, Al-Hassan Sesay averred, is known as the Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM).
He underscored that, the project is to ensure the poorest of the poor benefit noting, the project cannot benefit everyone at the same time. Therefore, the project has been designed to benefit the people by quota but in the end, everyone will benefit. He drew their attention to the fact that majority of the beneficiaries are women but the funds are meant for households and not any single beneficiary.
He also stated the rationale behind having women as majority of the beneficiaries, which is due to their management abilities and skills. He emphasized that the beneficiaries must ensure to multiply the funds by using it to engage in small businesses that would bring more benefit to the family.
The Outreach Manager further told beneficiaries that this meeting is meant to empower them on the project to ensure nobody uses unscrupulous means to take part of the money from them. For this reason, he said, the Commission usually conducts post monitoring visits/exercises to see whether the beneficiaries use the funds in line with the project’s expectations.
David Yusuf Kabia, Public Relations Assistant, ACC in his submission on the role of the beneficiaries told them that the Government and World Bank have purposely provided them with these funds to cushion the negative effects of poverty on them and must therefore be used only to ensure homes are able to feed and take care of their urgent domestic needs.
David also advised them to use the resources to engage in businesses investments, which he said are capable of increasing the funds. He shared testimonies with them of other beneficiaries who after investing their moneys are today self-sufficient. He warned female beneficiaries against disrespecting their husbands because they now have these resources and further called on their male counterpart beneficiaries to use these resources to support their wives and not go start looking for another wife.
Bangalie Kandeh, ACC’s District Coordinator, Kambia district, informed the beneficiaries making complaints to the ACC that any possible corruption in the project can simply be done either by visiting the office, writing formally or calls to the numbers 077-985985 or 077-986. He assured them that these calls can be made for free through Africell Network.
In his welcome address, Town Chief of Bamoi village, Pa Adikalie Kamara thanked the ACC for the many accolades it has bagged internationally and locally in the fight against corruption, which he said is all to ensure that their lives and those of other citizens are improved. The Chief further disclosed that they are well informed of the great work of the Commission through radio programmes and that as a local authority, he is assuring the Commission of his commitment ad that of his people to curb corruption in Sierra Leone.
The meeting was climaxed by concerns, questions and answers provided by the ACC team.