Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone appeal No. 01.04/2002 programme update No. 2

Format
Appeal
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Posted
Originally published

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This Programme Update is intended for reporting on Annual Appeals.
Appeal Target: Revised from CHF 3,869,000 to CHF 3,997,000 (see Programme Update no. 1)
Period covered: June -December 2002

"At a Glance"

Appeal coverage: 105.5%
Related Appeals: N/A

Outstanding needs: This appeal was well covered in 2002, and donors are encouraged to continue the focus their support on the Federations 2003 Annual Appeals for this region. Update: 2002 was a productive and meaningful year for the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS) with strong and appreciated support, both financially and otherwise, from very committed partners. Not everything was accomplished due to the budget cycle and the unavailability of funding until the second quarter of 2002 but good progress has been made in assisting the most vulnerable within Sierra Leone. Some major new projects may be added to existing ones in 2003 which will include a National Recruitment Campaign to restore the paid membership base to prewar levels, and increased activities relating to income generation.

Operational Developments:

Peace is now slowly returning to Sierra Leone since May, 2002 general elections. There is clear evidence of significant rebuilding and rehabilitation taking place throughout the country and there is a growing expectation on the part of the general population that the government must come to grips with issues such as corruption, improved and affordable education, subsidized housing and increased jobs at an early date.

The Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS) has worked hard over the past year to improve its profile and image through the systematic education and sensitization of thousands of people on the mandate and principles of the Movement. The National Society recognizes that its focus must now change from that of an emergency and relief organization to one of meaningful programme management to assist in alleviating the significant level of poverty and suffering and play a lead role in the development and capacity building of the most vulnerable. With the peace process firmly in place, there is a key role for the National Society to play in Sierra Leone by assisting the most vulnerable become healthy and productive members of society.

Corruption continues to be a major problem within the country and the President has called for significant action to curb this including the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Commission. Progress is, however, very slow and only one case had actually been through the courts by year end. Until this situation is rectified, investment in Sierra Leone will be difficult and this will hamper the recovery process significantly.

In September, UNAMSIL announced the scaling down of troops beginning March, 2003 and that the withdrawal process will take place gradually over several years. This situation must be monitored carefully since the withdrawal of troops could mean an increase in the incidence of petty crime, a phenomena that is already on the rise.

The Truth & Reconciliation Commission has been established and testimonies are being recorded. This is also a slow process that does not appear to be fully understood or supported by much of the population.

Despite the tense situation in the Ivory Coast over the past few months, minimal impact has been evident in Sierra Leone to date.

Disaster response

Action Teams from the Western Area (Freetown) and Kambia branches continued their humanitarian services at the Quay and Pamlap border and welcomed Sierra Leonean returnees from Liberia and Guinea respectively. In addition, the Lungi group was reactivated to start preparations for receiving returnees from Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

A total of 6,472 Sierra Leonean returnees were received, registered and served with bread, sardines and drinking water. First aid services were provided to those with minor injuries. This has proven to be an activity that has enhanced the reputation and understanding of the SLRCS significantly.

First aid services at the Lumley/Aberdeen beach in Freetown were continued by the Western Area Branch Action Teams on weekends and public holidays. During the period under review, 101 casualties with minor injuries were treated.

A fire disaster struck a large building complex in the east end of Freetown on 4 September 2002, killing 5 persons and leaving 103 homeless. Action teams from the Western Area Branch responded by conducting an initial assessment of the disaster and distributed non food items in the form of used clothing, kitchen sets, plastic sheeting, buckets, mats and blankets to the families who had been made homeless.

Disaster Preparedness

OBJECTIVE 1: Upgrade the skills of SLRCS staff, branch action teams and emergency response units in disaster management. The broad objective was to expose SLRCS branch Action Team Leaders to skills that could be used in measuring Community Vulnerability and how to mitigate, prevent and prepare for disaster situations. In pursuit of this objective, the following activities were undertaken during the period of June to December, 2002:

  • A five-day workshop on Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) was held for 37 Action Team Leaders from 10 SLRCS branches and five Town Groups. The workshop took place at the National School of Hygiene in Bo from 15 - 19 July, 2002.

  • Four basic Disaster Management (DM) training courses were conducted for 139 volunteers in Kenema, Bombali, Western Area and Bo branches. Each training programme lasted for six days.

  • Monthly meetings were convened for Disaster Preparedness action team members in the branches. These meetings focused on planning and improving their effectiveness in providing assistance to disaster victims and reducing risks in disaster prone communities.

OBJECTIVE 2: Set up an SLRCS disaster management database.

Each branch has developed material to be used on the database (membership on the Action Teams, list of non food item (NFI) standard stocks, procedures in response to disasters etc.). This database has not been set up to date and will be pursued in 2003.

OBJECTIVE 3: Establish branch-level emergency stock allowing branches to respond to local and minor emergencies and establish a radio network linking all branches with headquarters.

  • All branches have received 50 sets of non food items and first aid material in order to respond to disasters and minor medical emergencies.

  • All branches have radio communication with headquarters except for the Magburaka branch office which is scheduled to be installed in early 2003 to complete this objective.

OBJECTIVE 4: Assist in formulating a national disaster preparedness plan.

The SLRCS DP Officer has established linkages with the government, NGOs, UN Agencies and other humanitarian organizations. It has been agreed to establish a Task Force to determine the way forward and the role of each of the partners in the development of a National Disaster Preparedness Plan. The SLRCS expects to play a lead role in this task force.

HUMANITARIAN VALUES

Objective 1: Provide job assistance to war amputees (JAWA Programme). Secure 30 permanent jobs for amputees annually:

  • During this period, four jobs were secured for amputees in Kenema, three in Freetown and one in Makeni for a total of eight jobs during this period. Since inception of this initiative in 2000, sixty eight positions have been secured for amputees.

  • Commercial institutions, government and other businesses were visited to advocate for jobs for the amputees but many potential employers were hesitant due to fear of their effectiveness if employed. The Advocacy Officer, however, continues to try to dispel this perception.

  • Advocacy activities such as radio talk shows have commenced in Bo, Kenema and Makeni.

Annually expand the micro-credit scheme a total of twenty amputees by an additional 100 amputees:
  • Twenty amputees benefited from micro credit loans (ten in Kenema and Port Loko respectively).

  • Our assessment shows that the amputees are doing well with their loans and most, but not all, are being repaid to the society.

  • Because of the micro-credit loan, the incidence of street begging amongst the amputee has reduced drastically. Their level of trauma has also been reduced since amputees now interact freely with members of the public whilst selling their wares.

Assist an additional 50 amputees annually with appropriate skills training:
  • Twenty amputees graduated from gara tie-dyeing (10 in Aberdeen camp and Kenema respectively)

  • Ten amputees started a nine-month gara tie-dyeing training in Makeni.

  • Thirty five amputees are engaged in tailoring in Freetown, Lungi, Bo and Makeni and will be graduating in the first quarter of 2003.

Advocate on behalf of amputees and other handicapped groups for public support and understanding by raising public awareness of the plight of amputees through radio spots, television skits, newspaper articles and public meetings:
  • Jingles and radio and television were regularly on the air, appealing for support for amputees. This has been successful in raising the awareness of this segment of the population and the public is now more aware of the SLRCS involvement in assisting amputees.

Objective 2: Build on Community Animation and Peace Support (CAPS) .

Strengthen connectors and minimize dividers in operational communities to produce social community cohesion and strengthen family ties:

- During this period, two hundred and nineteen focus group discussions were held in the communities:

  • Twenty nine discussions on youth reintegration with 900 people attending.
  • Sixty four discussions on sustainable agriculture and community needs with 1,876 people attending.
  • Thirty discussions on Child Abuse and Sexual Violence with 1,001 people attending.
  • Nine discussions on Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and special courts with 2,012 people attending.

- The Community Peace Consolidation Committees (CPCCs) worked with animators in all Communities on strengthening family ties. Regular home visits and discussions on issues affecting the break up of family ties were held.

- Peace festivals in five locations were held with 96 old and new communities participating.

- The CPCCs were actively involved in monitoring and mediating conflict and reconciliation in the project communities. A significant amount of mediation was done on marital conflicts.

Promote mechanisms within communities to recognize, advocate and support the needs of their vulnerable individuals and groups:

  • Advocacy for a health center in one of the CAPS communities was done with the Government Ministry of Health and a health centre is now under construction. In two other CAPS communities, linkages were established with the Ministry of Education for the opening of Primary Schools. Feedback on these efforts has been positive and a school project committee has been formed in both communities.

Facilitate the process of de-traumatizing and reintegrating ex-combatants and returnees in each community.
  • A weekly story session was held in the CAPS communities, under the peace huts. People shared their experiences on the war and how they are coping. This process has helped people in all communities to put their painful past behind and strive towards a better future.

  • A total of 16 RUF ex-combatants have been reintegrated in nine communities. The CPCC engaged the former fighters to be part of the work groups and they are all working together.

  • Over 85% of people who fled the communities during the war, have now returned. The CPCC in the communities update returnees on activities of CAPS and how to fit in. Most of the returnees are fully participating in CAPS activities.

  • The 48 new CAPS communities received footballs and vests. Regular matches are played involving all young people. It is valuable to note that sports is proving to be very useful in promoting teamwork, non-aggressive competition and social interaction skills.

Improve sustainable living standards for the 48 CAPS Communities:
  • Seventy two Work groups were supported with seeds and farm tools.

  • Ninety six Communities members were trained in Community Based First Aid. Twenty four Communities received First Aid Kits.

  • Community kits comprising shovels, wheelbarrows, head pans and pick axes were distributed in the 48 new communities.

Enhance awareness on Social issues and strengthen good governance in the communities.
  • One hundred and fifty wind-up radios donated by the British Red Cross were distributed in the 48 new communities. The radios were very well received and have linked up the communities with the outside world.

Assist communities in identifying their capacities and means to enhance them in peace building and in the development of their communities.
  • Sixty discussions were held on sustainable agriculture and community needs. These discussions took place in all of the 48 new communities including discussion on the issue of proper land utilization.

Increase the National Society's and the Movement's knowledge and capacity in the implementation of peace building initiatives.
  • One of the animators attended a five-day Gender and Peace building workshop in Kenema, organized by an inter agency peace network while another one attended a five-day workshop on ARC-Action for the Rights of the Child in Bo, organized by Save the Children UK.

  • The Project Supervisor, completed a three-month conflict transformation course at the Responding To Conflict (RTC) establishment in the UK. The course was sponsored by the British Red Cross.

  • Baseline information on the 48 new communities was documented for future reference.

  • A two-day Better Programming Initiative (BPI) workshop was held in Bo for 12 CAPS Animators and eight other branch functionaries from the Bo and Moyamba districts. The workshop was facilitated by the British Red Cross Desk Officer for West and Central Africa and a representative from the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society.

  • The Desk Officer worked with the CAPS team to do an impact study in the CAPS communities. The study was done in four old CAPS communities. Results of the study will be shared with the National Society and is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2003.

OBJECTIVE 3: Continue work with child advocacy and rehabilitation (CAR)
  • Continue with the process of de-traumatizing 110 children in Waterloo and begin the process with 100 children in Kambia and an additional 150 in Waterloo:

  • Individual and group counseling session continued. All the activists completed counseling (case managing) their beneficiaries and their family members in their homes and at the center. To complement this activity, a partnership with WAR CHILD was established and they carried out psycho-social sessions with the 14-18 year olds three times each week. Our observation shows that this service had a positive influence on the beneficiaries and an evaluation is underway to determine if this practice will continue.

  • Three community parent/teachers association meetings took place in Rokel, Waterloo and Samuel Town for the graduation ceremony preparations.

  • Recreational activities were organized at the Waterloo CAR Center with the beneficiaries divided into three "houses" - the SLRCS House, IFRC House and ICRC House. These teams periodically played football and volleyball to enhance competitive spirit among beneficiaries. An inter-house sports day was organized at the end of October where the above three houses competed in various sports at the Bassah Town Field. This event was very successful with parents and officials witnessing the violence-free activities and fun. These sporting activities have assisted in healing the trauma in both parents and children.

  • The Drama Committee at the Waterloo CAR Center organized plays to demonstrate moral lessons such as sensitization skits on HIV/AIDS, the convention on the Rights of the Child and girl child education. Drama has proved to be a very successful way of communicating messages.

  • The Kambia CAR Center was opened in September with one hundred and fifty children, registered from the seven chiefdoms in the area. There was a rigorous recruitment process to identify the staff for this center. Fifty nine candidates were interviewed for the thirteen positions. To promote child advocacy and youth participation in decision-making in their communities and encourage reintegration of war-affected children into the communities.

  • At Community Teachers Association meetings held at Rokel, Waterloo and Samuel Town respectively, talks on the Convention on the Right of the Child were facilitated by the CAR Advocacy Officer for Community Sensitization.

  • Small community groups have been formed where CAR staff periodically facilitate discussions on the need for the reintegration of the children into their communities.

  • Sensitization drama sessions on AIDS prevention started in the schools using the Youth Peer Club members.

  • Six community sensitization workshops on Child Rights were held in Kambia and a Community Teachers Association was formed in this community.

To provide beneficiaries with educational and skills training to improve health status and self-reliance capacity:

- Three former Waterloo CAR beneficiaries, sponsored by CAUSE CANADA, were enrolled in schools and were visited by activists to monitor their progress and schoolwork.

- Beneficiaries at the Waterloo center who never attended school were encouraged to identify work and to read and write before graduating from the CAR center.

- Six skills areas were established for the Kambia center:

  • Tailoring: 21 beneficiaries (16 girls and 15 boys).
  • Bread baking: 15 beneficiaries (12 girls and 3 boys).
  • Gara tie-dying/Soap making: 56 beneficiaries all girls.
  • Carpentry: 25 beneficiaries (24 boys and 1 girl)
  • Crafts: 21 beneficiaries (16 girls and 5 boys)
  • Brick/Block Laying/Concreting: 25 beneficiaries (23 boys and 2 girls).

Facilitate children's families and their communities in planning, growth and development for their own self-reliance.
  • Groups were formed in the seven communities (Waterloo-3, Rokel-2 and Samuel Town-3) for community support. These groups were provided with items which included piglets, seeds and tools to start income-generating activities. Products from the above activities will be provided on a cost recovery basis to support other new groups.

Build the capacity of National Society to address the needs of War Affected Children and their communities:
  • A series of workshops were conducted by the Social Welfare Delegate on Child Development and the Action on the Right of the Child (ARC) designed to improve the capacity of the CAR staff.

  • TOT workshops were attended by the Waterloo Centre Advocacy Officer for Community Sensitization. The learning was shared with the CAR staff at our own local workshops.

  • The project supervisor of Waterloo CAR center attended a 3-month conflict transformation course at the Responding To Conflict Centre (RTC) in the UK.

Foster participation in healthy peer youth relationships at the center and in their communities and encourage participation in positive growth promotion and leadership activities by involving Red Cross and other youth groups, and by inviting youth peer educators to give health talks to beneficiaries.

Significant accomplishments during this period included:

  • Activities of the youth peer club at the Waterloo CAR center were intensified with performances in the community schools on HIV/AIDS sensitization.

  • A ToT workshop, organized by the Western Area Branch Community Based Health Programme, was attended by one Activist from Kenema. The lessons learned at this workshop were shared with other CAR staff.

  • Beneficiaries at the Kambia CAR center actively participated in the World Aids Day.

  • A total of 131 beneficiaries received certificates during the graduation ceremony on 14 December 2002 at the Waterloo Centre. Many parents and dignitaries attended the ceremony.

  • The counseling sessions have gone a very long way in healing trauma and was complimented by the psycho-social activities of War Child.

  • As a result of the home visits by the activists, parents now accept their children openly and it is evident that the children have had their dignity and respect restored within the communities.

  • About 80% of the beneficiaries who never attended school can now read and write as a result of the CAR programme.

HEALTH AND CARE

Note: A formal evaluation of the Health and Care program will be conducted during the first quarter of 2003. The results will provide data to accurately assess the impact and sustain ability that the health and care initiatives are having on the lives of the beneficiaries.

OBJECTIVE 1: Community sensitization and mobilization on awareness of roles and responsibilities in reducing exposure to health risks, thereby limiting morbidity and mortality rates in the SLRCS operational areas.

During this period, some 54,370 beneficiaries were reached by the networks of volunteers including mothers clubs members, Youth Peer educators, Traditional Birth Attendants, First aiders and other Community Volunteers through house to house visits and community meetings. During these sensitization meetings, health messages were reinforced and promoted child survival activities such as breast feeding, nutrition, growth monitoring, immunization, Ante-natal care, Family Planning, Personal hygiene, STIs, HIV/ AIDS and environmental sanitation.

Mothers' clubs leaders from ten branches (2 each) participated in a four day training session in Kenema on leadership skills and developing community action guidelines.

OBJECTIVE 2: Reduce the spread of infectious diseases through improved water and sanitation activities

  • Construction work on four class A large diameter wells continued in Makomba and Totkelleh in the Western Area, CAR centers in Port Loko and Kambia.

  • Two spring boxes are under construction in Kamabai and Talia and two wells are being rehabilitated at Mange Loko and Russell.

  • Fifty six VIP latrines were constructed in six communities.

  • Three hundred and fifty six community wells were regularly chlorinated in Makeni, Kenema, Mattru and Bonthe in collaboration with the Environmental Health Officers of the Ministry of Health.

  • Forty eight communities took part in massive cleanup and sensitization campaigns, including construction of plate racks, compost fences, wash yards and clothes lines.

OBJECTIVE 3: Increase community capacity in 46 communities to address minor accidents and ailments.
  • This programme now has 3,335 volunteers trained in Community Based First Aid, Cholera Preparedness, Safe Motherhood and Control and Prevention of HIV and AIDS.

  • Two hundred community volunteers were in cholera preparedness in July to equip them for disseminating messages on food and water hygiene, management of diarrhea diseases and preparation of the oral rehydration salt. Basic demonstration kits were provided.

  • During this period, a total of CHF 1,080 was generated from two First Aid training courses were conducted for 82 employees of the Airport Authority and National Airlines.

  • In June, a 10-day Training of Trainers phase I First Aid course was conducted for 20 volunteers from 10 operational branches in Bo. They also completed the 2nd phase of this training in November in Kenema.

OBJECTIVE 4: Provide Basic Health Care Services to 140,000 targeted beneficiaries in nine branches and one group by December 2002
  • Primary Health Care Services were provided from nine static clinics and one mobile clinic in Kenema, Bo, Mattru, Bonthe (Mobile Clinic), Moyamba, Western Area (Howe Street) Lungi, Makeni and Kambia.

  • Eighteen TBA houses are under construction. Thirteen are located in various villages in Kenema, Two in Mange Loko and three in Moyamba. Local materials and labour are from the communities while imported materials are being provided by the Canadian Red Cross through the Federation.

  • Seventy thousand two hundred and forty three users of the health services benefited from PHC services in 55 communities from the nine stationary clinics and a mobile clinic. A total of CHF 12,257 which is 50% of funds collected as fees from the clinics, remained with the branches for improving their health services and facilities.

  • In collaboration with UNHCR, health care services are being provided to the Liberian refugees in the Western Area and Bo clinics where a total of 1876 refugees benefited from the services during this reporting period.

  • Refurbishment of the Western Area and Makeni clinics is underway, construction of a clinic waiting hall in Bo was started recently and a simple health education and demonstration hall is being erected in Kenema.

OBJECTIVE 5: Reduce the infant and maternal mortality rates in 31 SLRCS operational areas by December 2003
  • Three branches, Kono, Western Area and Tonkolili, in collaboration with the District Health Management teams, organized and successfully completed a 30-day basic training course in Safe Motherhood for 60 untrained TBA's. At the end of the course, the TBAs were provided with the basic equipment to assist them in their work. This brings the number of TBAs trained this year to 180. The infant mortality rates are dropping as a result of this initiative and actual statistics will become available upon completion of the Health and Care evaluation to be carried out during the first quarter of 2003.

  • The maternal and child health clinics continue to provide ante-natal care, Immunization, Growth monitoring, essential drugs, treatment of minor ailments, postnatal care, family planning, health education, referrals and home visits.

  • Provision of free iron and folic acid tablets and weekly malaria prophylactics for pregnant and lactating mothers continued in all clinics.

  • Four hundred and eighty new born babies benefited from 20 bales of baby packs donated by the Swedish Red Cross.

OBJECTIVE 6: Improve and promote the nutritional status of the most vulnerable in 31 SLRCS operational areas by 20% by the end of December, 2003.
  • In collaboration with WFP, the clinic in Bo continued with supplementary feeding for 560 beneficiaries, 300 pregnant and lactating mothers and 260 under-fives who were moderately malnourished. They were provided with corn Soya blend, sugar and vegetable oil.

  • The staff and volunteers in the clinics continued with nutrition education promotion, exclusive breast feeding for six months and food demonstrations on weaning diets during their home visits.

  • The mothers clubs in all operational area continued to improve on food security in their back yard gardens.

OBJECTIVE 7: Intensify the expanded sensitization programme on the control and prevention of Lassa Fever
  • The community volunteers and First Aiders trained for lassa fever sensitization campaigns gave health talks and demonstrations to 6,580 beneficiaries during their house-to- house visits.

OBJECTIVE 8: Enhance SLRCS and volunteer capacity in programme management

The SLRCS was represented both in the district and at national levels on the following task forces:

  • Inter Agency Health Task Force
  • Roll back Malaria Task Force
  • Inter Agency HIV and AIDS Task Force

SLRCS staff participated in the following events:
  • EPI review meeting - June
  • Micro planning for NIDS - September
  • Global fund proposal development and submission - August
  • Health Policy Review Workshop - July
  • Annual Health Review and Planning Workshop - November

Monitoring and supervisory working visits to the branches and communities continued on a regular monthly basis by the Coordinator, Statistician/Health Education Officer, WATSAN Officer and Branch Health Officers

One monitoring, three baseline surveys and one PRA were conducted by the Statistician /Health Education Officer. These reports were completed and are now available for use in programme implementation.

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