April 10, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) has started implementing the National Social Safety Net Programme (NSSP) Cash Transfer to extremely poor Sierra Leoneans in the districts of Moyamba, Bombali, Kono and Western Rural.
The Social Safety Net (SSN) Cash Transfer is part of the Social Protection Scheme which is a two-year project implemented by NaCSA with support from the World Bank and UNICEF, and in line with the government’s ‘Agenda for Prosperity’, to enable poor people meet their basic needs, including buying food and provision of basic health, education and shelter.
The serial cash transfer exercise was monitored by officials from NaCSA, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security and witnessed by the media and local authorities in the respective districts as payment was made by Splash Money Transfer.
Addressing beneficiaries at the cash transfer gathering at Sengema village in Mofindor Chiefdom, Kono district, Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission, Jamesina King, averred that the payment would improve the lives of indigent people in rural communities.
“When you receive this money, there will be a difference in sustenance; you can send your children to school, take them to the hospital and you can also use the money on other welfare issues,” she stated.
Also, Councilor Abu Amara of Ward 88 in Constituency 27 expressed thanks to NaCSA, the World Bank and the government for selecting beneficiaries from particularly Kutty Section, located in his ward.
According to him, residents in that part of the country use the Guinean Franc because of their proximity to Guinea and the deplorable road network that connects them with Koidu city.
“This is the very first time some are using Leone currencies since the war ended. My people prefer trading in Guinea because of the bad road network to accessing other markets in Sierra Leone,” he said.
Councilor Amara added that several communities in his ward lack basic education, healthcare facility and road network, and appealed to the government and donor partners to pay adequate attention to people living along faraway border communities, including Mofindor Chiefdom, in order to improve their basic living standards.
ACC Sub-Regional Coordinator-East, Rev. Bob Kandeh, observed that since the cash transfer to the poor and vulnerable started in that part of the country, they had conducted extensive field monitory activities to ensure that the right beneficiaries receive the money.
“We monitor it in order to ensure transparency and accountability. The ACC has not discovered any fraud or malpractices in the process,” he said.
On his part, NaCSA District Coordinator for Kono District, Bockarie K. Samura, said the selection of beneficiaries was informed by the 2011 Statistics Sierra Leone Integrated Household Survey report. According to him, the selection process was very methodical and focused on picking out household heads that are extremely poor.
He said they used the light community based identification process with specific criteria for assessing the level of household poverty.
Samura noted that NaCSA collaborated with Statistics Sierra Leone, National Registration Secretariat and ACC to carry out the registration and verification processes. He informed that the two-year pilot project would provide income support to 13,000 extremely poor households across the country.
Splash Money agent, David A. Kargbo, who dished out payments to beneficiaries at Yorgboma village in Toli Chiefdom, Kono district, said at least 160 residents were targeted in five communities in that chiefdom.
“This process is so clear and transparent. We make payment with GPS satellite system and all beneficiaries are properly verified as soon as we receive their correct information and identification,” he disclosed.
One of the beneficiaries, Finda Ngegba, who received the sum of Le190,000, said she would use the money to cater for her eight children.
“I am a subsistence farmer and likewise my husband. We live in a make-shift thatched house,” she said, adding that she would use the money on health, education and food.
The serial cash transfer payment was simultaneously held in four beneficiary districts across Sierra Leone.