June 7, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Japan Embassy in Ghana through their Development for Comprehensive District Development CDCD project has embarked on a massive development in the area of education, health and feeder road construction in Port Loko and Kambia districts in the northern region of Sierra Leone.
The funding of the project by the Japan Government was made known during a press tour with officials of Japan Embassy, to Port Loko and Kambia District respectively.
The Long term Project was geared towards developing the capacity of local communities to maintain feeder roads rehabilitated by the CDCD Project, thereby providing sustained accessibility to productive and economically viable areas and where public facilities are located in the various communities.
The immediate Project Objective is to provide the local communities with Food for work, tools and basic road maintenance skills for them to assume ownership of the rehabilitated feeder roads linking respective sections and sustainable use of the roads throughout the year.
According to the first Secretary of the Japan Embassy, Hiroki Yamashita, the project aims to strengthen the capacity of local and central Government for an effective and efficient rural development under the policy of decentralization.
Also speaking at Shakaia and Mafaray Communities in the Kambia District on the project titled Strengthening Access to Healthcare and Community Led Development’- a one million United States Dollars project funded by the Japanese Government for Kambia and Kailahun District, Mr.Hiroki Yamashita said Sierra Leone suffered one of the worst effects of the Ebola outbreak.
He said during the outbreak of the virus, the economy and the social fabric were weakened as result of restriction on movement of people and goods, coupled with high mortality.
He added that the effects were most felt by cross-border communities,where the social fabric, livelihood and economic opportunities were shattered, and that the Ebola also weakened the already fragile health system resulting to poor access to health care.
He said in a bid to complement the government’s development agenda and post Ebola recovery effort, the United Nations Development Programme UNDP, supported health and livelihood projects with funding from the Government of Japan.
He said the Strengthening Access to Health Care and Community Led-development is one of the two on-going projects implemented in 30 villages of Gbinleh-Dixin Chiefdom and that the project aims at Strengthening the capacity of village development committees, which consist of Local Leaders, women’s leaders and the school PHU Management and peripheral Health Units to plan and implement key development strategies designed to enhance access to health.
He said the projects with funding from the Japan Government, were implemented by the UNDP in close collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation at the national level, while the Local Councils and District Health Management Team implemented it at the district level.
He said the key activities in those villages were rehabilitation of water points for the community and peripheral Health Units, establishment and training of water management committees, hand pump and well maintenance trainings.
He said the project also promoted hygiene through community led total sanitation approach and the dissemination of health through the Information Education Communication (IEC) materials, VDcs capacity building in community infrastructure mapping, community development planning, community development project implementation and monitoring.
Giving overview of the project, Ibrahim Sorie Suma, who represented the traditional ruler in the Gbinleh Dixing Chiefdom in the Kambia District, said UNDP held meetings with community stakeholders, informing them about the project funded by the Japan Government to strengthening health in that part of the country.
He said in the meeting, they were told to be including women and people with disability in their development activities, adding that they were also taught how to save money for community development, how to protect their water and how to keep their communities clean.
Giving testimonies of how the Japan funded project helped to transform the lives of people in that part of the country,Oyeah Suma, said the project had helped them to secure clean and safe drinking water, how to keep their community clean and save money for community development.
Also visiting the Port Loko District Council, Bangali F Marah, the Deputy Chief Administrator of the Port Loko District Council, said the CDCD project started in 2009 in five districts in the northern part of the country and it is expected to end in 2018.
He said the project focused on community capacity building in the entire five districts in the north and further that the project is currently assisting them for the construction of six classroom school in Port Loko Town and rehabilitation of a hospital, adding that those entire project are already at completion stage.
He said the project which is transforming the country as whole also trained people for proper management of the facilities so that the facilities will last and he further that the project have six experts from Japan for proper implementation.