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$16M UNDP-GEF-SGP Projects…

Stakeholders Holds Workshop on Country Strategy Review

May 6, 2019

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As the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Small Grant Programme (SGP), provided the sum of ‘Sixteen Million United State Dollars ($16,000,000 million USD), for environmental management in Sierra Leone, stakeholders from UNDP, EPA and grantees held a two-day workshop to Review the Country’s Strategy Programme.

The workshop, held on the 30th April and ended on the 1ST May, 2019 at the River No. 2 Beach Hall, Western Area Rural District, attracted stakeholders including the National Coordinator of GEF-SGP, Abdul Rahman Sannoh, Deputy Director, Environment Protection Agency Abdul Salim, Member of the National Steering Committee Dr. Nana Pratt, among others.

The workshop was as a result of the SGP OP6 Country Programme Strategy (CPS) for Sierra Leone, particularly focusing on the achievements, gaps and to bring out recommendations that will further strengthen effective grant making in GEF CP7.

Speaking in his keynote address, Member of the National Steering Committee, who doubles also as Coordinator, National Organisation for Women Sierra Leone Dr. Nana Pratt, said one of the reason they came as a committee is because they want the grant to be inclusive and benefit everybody including the physically challenge, adding that EPA represent the focal point to get GEF for the fact that they had to endorse the grant. She continued that grantees should make sure that the grant is used for the intended purposes.

“At the National Steering Committee level, when we make the cause for implementation, we give criteria because fifty percent of implemented cases nowadays don’t produce the expected result. As a member also of the NSC, I believe in gender parity which is why the reference is made to gender focal point. I want the small grantees to understand that we come to the steering committee to award grant that it been allocated for the development of the Sierra Leone,” she said.

She cautioned grantees that the grant should benefit everybody in both urban and rural communities, noting that they want to make sure that the country’s is climate smart base on some of the indicators that have been given, calling on them to be very smart under OP7.

National Coordinator of GEF-SGP, Abdul Rahman Sannoh, in a Power Point presentation on the positive, challenges and gaps on the previous grants, said the story of SGP is not limited to Sierra Leone alone. The countries participating in GEF-SGP programme have almost similar if not the same. For Sierra Leone, one key achievement we had over the years is that we have had huge following because of community level, driven by community base organisations and communities at large.

He also stated that their process is very simple wherein, they just put their ideas together and fill-in information that they want and then the NSC will spring and look at the concept of the approach one want to take, the things that they want to do and whether they align with their Strategy Country Programme before they will approve it.

“It is not like the European Union (EU), USAID or other organisation that have a whole lot of step before they can approve your project. Because of this simplicity, a lot of organisations have been coming forward. Sometimes when we call for proposals, we may have funds for ten or fifteen organisations. We may receive up to one hundred application forms which is an achievement for us”.

He continued that however, there are series of challenges, key of them is the coordination amongst the organisation. At district level, organisation doesn’t talk to each order, don’t communicate and don’t meet. Another challenge they are faced with is the capacity of organisation. The capacity to implement GEF focal areas as organisations does not have the capacity to implement some of these areas. Like the International Water, there is a huge challenge as we were not able to implement that area.

Deputy Director Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Abdul Salim, said EPA is providing the endorsement on the funds to come through UNDP for the support of various grantees.  He commended the small grant team for this laudable venture as, according to him, organizing such an event demand a lot of task. He went on that his statement is going to focus on two things. One is the issue of effective implementation of the programme and the issue of coordination.

“I am here to encourage grantees because it is not about providing the grant to grantees, it is about ensuring that you do your own part by implementing the project you have already designed in your proposal. What we observed over the years that have been a challenge is about building synergies between these SGP and the Full Size Project. As I am speaking to you, for every circle, Sierra Leone is been provided with some resources. For example, for this circle wherein we are starting the planning, now, the country’s is been provided with $16 Million USD”.

He concluded by stating that they are expecting them as a country to build on this initiative, but the problem they have is how can they create that link between SGP in terms of building synergies.