November 5, 2021
By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
As part of their project implementation for rural communities, SEND Sierra Leone, on November 2, launched the ‘More Than a Woman’ (MTAW) and ‘the Bonthe Island Fish Trading’ (BIFT ).
In his address, Country Director of Send Sierra Leone, Joseph Ayamga, stated that the organization started its program of activities in Bonthe District in February 2019, with the promotion of Nutrition Sensitive Wash Self-supply project in the Sherbro Island.
He said the project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Deutsche Welthungerhilfe.
He said the project was implemented in December 2018 in Sittia and Dema Chiefdom and that it supported 1000 households in 61 communities that were facing challenges in accessing safe drinking water.
He said they worked with those communities to mobilize their own financial and local resources, to contribute to developing their own Wash facilities.
He added that in 2020, SEND was also part of the Covid-19 response project with funds from Irish Aid through the Irish Embassy in Sierra Leone, to a consortium of national NGOs led by Troaire.
“I am glad to inform the local government, the government of Sierra Leone, the media, donor partners, MDAs, CSOs that, we are launching two major projects as part of our continued intervention in Bonthe District,” he said.
He cited the ‘More Than a Woman’ project which aims at strengthening women’s participation in politics and governance (Phase ii).
He said the project is funded by the Irish Government through the Irish Embassy in Sierra Leone with SEND being the implementing partner.
He said the project will be implemented in Bonthe, Kailahun, Kenema, and Kono Districts and that it would promote advocacy activities at the national level.
The SEND Country Director said the project has already started in June 2021 and will end in July 2024, with a total budget of 1,650,000 Euros.
He said the project will promote women’s in governance and women’s economic empowerment, adding that the objectives of the project include to ensuring that women are economically empowered through resource mobilization and utilization through the formation of networking and strengthening of VSLA groups.
He said the project would also be working on increase national level advocacy and networking on women’s participation in decision making, politics and governance through the organization of annual women leadership conference, power, and gender analysis with political parties and local authorities on women representation in governance.
In his keynote address, the Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Jonathan Titus Williams, thanked SEND Sierra Leone for launching the inception of two projects in the Bonthe District.
He said it was very gratifying to note that they were witnessing an important milestone in the accomplishment of President Bio’s promise and vision for women in Sierra Leone.
He noted that the projects were aligned with the country’s Medium-Term National Development Plan, which also captures President Bio’s manifesto commitment and priorities for the people of the country.
He said the two projects showcased the commitment of development partners and the confidence they have in the New Direction government.
“I want on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone, especially people of Bonthe District, appreciate SEND Sierra Leone and those funding these projects, including the BMZ and the Irish Aid,” he said.
Irish Aid Programme Adviser in Sierra Leone, Josehus Ellie, said the Government of Ireland, through the Embassy in Freetown, has been working with SEND Sierra Leone since 2017, mainly in Kailahun, Kono, and Kenema.
He said while consolidating effort in the Eastern region, they were pleased that the partnership has been extended to Bonthe District.
He said the phase two has provided the opportunity to increase the impacts of “our work in promoting women’s political participation.”
He noted that the projects they were launching were important and that they will continue to strengthen women’s voices, knowledge, capacity and networking.
He concluded that they also support women’s economic empowerment, increase national level advocacy and policy engagements, particularly with the female parliamentary caucus and continue to strengthen the organizational capacity of SEND Sierra Leone for effective and efficient delivery.
In his presentation, the project manager of the Bonthe Island Fish Trading (BIFT) Project, said the project will last for 3 years (August 2021 –April 2024).
He continued that the project will directly benefit 17,367 people of Bonthe Sherbro Island, plus 8,920 men, 7,703 women, and 744 people with disabilities.
He said approximately, 1,096,046 people will indirectly benefit from the interventions through radio discussions, awareness-raising and the micro-grants during the project period.
“As the project addresses the objectives of the Sierra Leone government’s Development Plan 2019-2023, SEND is endorsed and supported by policy makers in operating on the development plan,” he present
He said the project goal is to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Sierra Leone Medium-term National Development Plan 2019-2023 in the Bonthe District
He said the project was led as results of the fact that the people of Bonthe Island are affected by poverty.
“This is reflected, among other things, in the food insecurity of the population.”
In his presentation, the project manager for the ‘More Than a Woman’ project noted that the project is to empower women in the eastern region and Bonthe district in the south, and also in Freetown to especially increase national-level advocacy and networking on women’s participation in decision-making, politics, and governance
He said the objective of the project is to strengthen women’s participation in politics and governance by empowering them to increase their participation in politics and in governance, whilst also contributing towards reducing the gender imbalances in society.
He noted that the project would strengthen women’s collective voices, knowledge, capacity on gender, and accountability in governance and politics at district and regional levels.
He further stated that it would ensure that women are economically empowered through resource mobilization and utilization; increased national-level advocacy and networking on women’s participation in decision-making, governance and politics; and enhance capacity of SEND for effective and result-oriented programme delivery.