Service providers, users discuss SEND citizens’ perception survey

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November 28, 2018

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

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Participants listening to the presentation of the survey findings and recommendations

Service providers and users yesterday converged at the St. Anthony’s Parish Hall in Freetown to deliberate on issues raised in a survey conducted by SEND Sierra Leone under the SABI project around health, education and social protection, and to proffer solutions.

The Service Summit created a platform for participants to give their inputs on the findings of the survey and how they can be addressed by the relevant authorities.

The survey was conducted by Restless Development on behalf of SEND Sierra Leone between June and July this year, focusing mainly on experiences of people in Aberdeen, Rokupa and Thunder Hill communities in the western urban area in accessing health, education and social protection services.

According to SEND’s Field Officer for Western Area, Mary Kpukumu, the Citizens’ Perception Survey was carried out as part of the SABI project which they are implementing in the eastern region and western area rural and urban.

She said SABI is a four year citizen-led accountability programme in all the sixteen districts of the country to increase awareness of, and demand for the delivery of basic services, especially health, education and social protection.

“SABI works in 610 communities, 106 wards and 56 chiefdoms in Sierra Leone to strengthen citizen’s voices, improve accountability and build a strong relationship between citizens and the state,” she said.

Ms. Kpukumu stated that the summit was aimed at promoting dialogue between citizens and state actors to seek durable solutions to improve service delivery in the country.

According to her, it came out clearly from those interviewed during the survey that there were problems associated with delivery health, education and social protection services in the aforementioned communities in western urban area.

She said pregnant women, lactating mothers, household heads, head teachers, disabled and pupils were targeted with questions centered, among others, on delivery health, education and social protection services.

Majority of those interviewed during the survey said Cash Transfer system for people with disabilities was not functioning well as expected. Participants therefore called on the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs to ensure that the disabled access the service.

On behalf of the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Jatu Otterbein, commended SEND and the SABI project for the engagement and promised to an improvement in the delivery of education services.
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“We are thankful to SEND and SABI project for complementing our efforts as a ministry. Let me urge those who are yet to receive school subsidy to write the ministry for proper action to be taken,” she urged.

With regards distribution of school learning materials, Ms. Otterbein called for patience as they were working assiduously to ensure full distribution across the country.

SABI Team Lead at Christian Aid, Amanda Bangura, spoke about their support to the government and people to identify problems and discussed how they could be solved.

A representative of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Moses Kabia said: “We are working hard to push issues affecting persons with disabilities forward. We are working on a disability policy to help address their concerns.”