NaCSA Bo District Office, 25th August, 2022 – The National Commission for Social Action is currently paying preparatory grants amounting to Le1.5 billion old news to 216 SAGs. This sums up the number of groups paid to Four Hundred (400) and each group comprises official twenty (20) women across 13 districts in the country.
This intervention is part of the Sierra Leone Community Driven Development Project (SLCDDP) – GIENTRINK funded by the Government of Sierra Leone and the Islamic Development Bank. Considering that the project emphasizes on livelihood, micro and small enterprises, the growth and sustainability of SAGs remains critical. It seeks to develop and strengthen community organizations thus building their social capital and enhancing opportunities for livelihood creations for communities. This will not only promote common economic activities, but will also make them self-reliant and resilient to risks that can affect community livelihoods.
Two Hundred and Thirty (230) groups were to be paid but only Two Hundred and Sixteen (216) groups were receiving their grants. This is due to failure to support meeting minimum standards. Speaking on behalf of the Commissioner, the Senior Director of Programs – Raymond Bob Katta reiterated the government's commitment in reducing poverty through a ‘community centered’ approach. ‘’ …let me remind us that the purpose of the grant is to undertake income generating activities, embark on group internal lending activities and cover the cost of transportation for withdrawal and deposit purposes. The Commission has demonstrated the highest level of transparency. Certainly, there are expected responsibilities of SAGs members and such include; hold weekly meetings, commit to weekly contributions and repay loans as they fall due’’ He noted.
The Micro Finance Officer – Tamba Jumu called on beneficiaries to improve their savings and work as a group having in mind that the essence is to increase access to finance. ‘’SAGs are homogeneous groups of persons with common earning power, like-minds and the will to improve their lives and by extension participate in the development of their communities. This will further help to increase cash at hand and we have heard testimonies of how SAGs have resuscitated businesses and the life of individuals.’’ He ended. These points were reemphasized by the Financial Management Specialist, the Grievance Redress Mechanism and the M and E officers.
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