UN Resident Coordinator visits project sites in 3 Districts: Delivering jointly as One UN in Sierra Leone,
The visit demonstrates the Resident Coordinator’s support to the work of the UN Country Team and the implementation of the Medium-Term National Development Plan
UN Resident Coordinator Mr Babatunde Ahonsi together with the Country Representatives of UNDP, WFP and IOM embarked on a two-day mission to various UN-supported and jointly implemented project sites in Port Loko, Moyamba, Bo and Sumbuya.
In Port Loko on 24 May, the RC participated in the Handover Ceremony of the WFP Port Loko Logistics Base to the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA). The RC said, “the UN is ready to build the capacities and capabilities of the agency to rapidly and robustly respond to disasters, build skills in information management, coordination, operational readiness and response”.
Established in 2014, the Logistics Base supported humanitarian response to the Ebola outbreak and is strategically placed to support humanitarian efforts in the northern region and in other parts of the country within 24 hours. The Logistics Base hosts 37 Mobile Storage Units (MSU) that provide over 18,800 square meters of secured covered storage.
“In handing over this base, WFP is fulfilling all obligations we have in our Country Strategic Plan. Be assured that you are going to be taking over a facility that runs and continues to run,” Mr Steve Nsubuga, WFP Country Representative said.
In Ngeihun, Moyamba District on the same day, the RC and his delegation visited a UN Peace Building Fund project on mitigating resource-based conflicts and increasing community resilience. Supported by WFP and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, they witnessed the work undertaken by the farmers’ association in developing a small-scale irrigation system in a ten-hectare abandoned Inland Valley Swamp (IVS). To enable community members to work together on this labour-intensive task, WFP provides cash transfer to young male and women farmers.
“Before now, we used to work at our will and live the farm whenever we like but since the intervention of this project, with the tools and technical training provided, we have become more united, and we work as a team earning large gains,” Saidu, the Youth Contractor said. By controlling the flow of water, farmers in Ngeihun will be able to cultivate rice and nutritious vegetables throughout the year, strengthening food and nutritional security.
Later that evening, the RC also engaged female leaders in Bo District, including Local Council Staff and Ward Councillors at a roundtable chaired by the UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Pa Lamin Beyai. They discussed achievements and challenges relating to women’s leadership and representation in communities.
“The quest for gender equality is a work in progress for the entire world in building a more prosperous and fairer world. Until we all commit to equalizing opportunities for women and men seeking political positions, we won’t succeed,” said the RC during the dinner engagement with the women leaders.
The next day, the delegation travelled to Sumbuya, where they met with youth and women beneficiaries of IOM’s Tractor and Grader Training programmes. These initiatives are part of IOM's larger-scale youth empowerment project targeting 2,000 young job seekers by April 2022. The project aims at reducing the risk of irregular migration through the promotion of youth employment and entrepreneurship support for the young people. The RC described the project as a ‘dream initiative ‘as it is based on robust partnerships between the UN, the Government of Sierra Leone, the community, and the private sector.
“Already we have signed a memorandum of understanding with the private Agribusiness Sierra Tropical Limited (STL), here in Sumbuya. IOM’s agreement with STL emphasized the need for youth to acquire demand-driven skills through technical training, especially in agriculture and machine maintenance’’, said Mr James Bagonza, Head of Office IOM. He added that STL will provide on the job training and internship opportunities for trainees of the programme.
Mr Ahonsi and the delegation also paid a courtesy call on the Resident Minister, Southern Province, Mr Mohamed K Alie before proceeding to Moyamba for the last leg of the field trip.
The last leg of the two-day field visit entailed the Resident Coordinator joining the United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Mr David Reimer, in handing over a newly constructed solar-powered water facility that provides clean water for inmates and staff at the Moyamba District Correctional Facility.
“This joint initiative demonstrates how much can be achieved when efforts are harnessed around the same goal. We are proud of the work so far accomplished and UNDP remains committed to achieving sustainable results that are anchored around the SDGs,” said UNDP Resident Representative, Pa Lamin Beyai.
The water facility including a borehole, water tower and pump systems, is part of another joint effort by UNDP and the United States to support the strengthening of the criminal justice sector while protecting human rights.
This two-day visit demonstrates the Resident Coordinator’s support to the work of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and the implementation of Sierra Leone’s Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2019-2023.
All UN-supported projects visited during this field mission are assisting the Government and people of the country in advancing national development gains as committed to in the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2020-2023 for Sierra Leone.