September 16, 2020

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), on 11th and 12th September 2020, trained 27 Social Safety Net Chiefdom Monitors for Kono District in Koidu City. Held in the Kono District Conference Hall, the training aimed at equipping the participants with skills in ensuring that cash transfer to extremely poor household beneficiaries, through the Social Safety Net project, is carried out transparently.

Initiated in 2014 and funded by the World-Bank, the Social Safety Net project is implemented by the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) to alleviate poverty in 35,000 households across the country this year. Of this figure Kono District holds 1,183 enrolled beneficiaries, out of which are 954 women and 229 men -targeted from 129 communities in 11 out of 14 chiefdoms in the district.

By the end of the two-day program, the Chiefdom Monitors acquired skills in building trust and confidence in all communities designated for the payments. In addition they were trained to register and report all complaints through the Grievance Redress Mechanism, verify that all grievances have been satisfactorily resolved, and report feedback from the beneficiaries of the project.

What underpins the role of the ACC-trained monitors in the SSN project is integrity, Hawanatu O. Kamara the ACC manager in Kono said.  While she emphasized the credibility of the Commission vis-à-vis its role in making sure that beneficiaries of the project get their cash in full, she encouraged them to be transparent and accountable in getting their job done in the targeted localities. ‘I should inform or remind you that the law equally applies to all,’ the manager warned.

The monitors are under the direct supervision of the ACC District Monitor of the scheme. The Kono District Monitor Patrick Hinga George earlier in his statement implored the trainees to actively take part in the session to achieve its desired objectives.

 According to Momoh Gbetuwa, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the project and lead facilitator of the training, the ACC is a people-centred institution in that it religiously prevents, investigates, and prosecutes corruption in the country in the interest of all Sierra Leoneans. ‘This is why the Commission takes responsibility in the SSN to ensure the interest of the impoverished households is projected.’

The Commission had been actively involved in the targeting stage of the project, Mr. Gbetuwa confirmed. He added that Statistics Sierra Leone played a pivotal role in determining the most vulnerably poor communities across the country, with Pujehun District topping the list. He said only those who answered the project’s criteria for the poorest of the poor got enrolled.

Aside from ensuring that beneficiaries receive the relieving package during the cash transfer stage of the project, the Commission has a post-payment role to identify and resolve any further complaints about any threat to the beneficiary’s relief purse.

 This project will pay Le 1,309,000 to each beneficiary twice this year, and the Commission through the Chiefdom Monitors will record and settle all grievances reported by any beneficiary right across the country. ‘The Commission will superintend the whole project to ensure integrity, transparency, and accountability is upheld through implementation,’ the facilitator affirmed.