With barely a year ago since the Sierra Leone Community Driven Development Project I (SLCDD I) was successfully implemented by the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has been largely encouraged to scale up the project mainly as a result of the quality of implementation done by NaCSA that had a record disbursement rate of 100% following it design in 2010.
Therefore, on the 8th June 2015, the IDB signed a financing Agreement with the Government of Sierra Leone for the implementation of the SLCDD 2 dubbed as”Gietrenk project”. This Rural Growth Poles (RGP) Project cost about 51 million US dollars. The signing of the agreement which took place at the Joaquin Chissano International Conference Centre (JCICC) in Maputo, Mozambique was part of the activities marking the 40th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group. In an auspicious ceremony the signing of the financing Agreement was done by the President of the IDB Group, Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali on behalf of the Bank, whilst the Minister of State, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED), F.B.L. Mansaray signed on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone.
The Minister of State conveyed the appreciation of the Government and people of Sierra Leone for the gesture demonstrated by the IDB towards the development of Sierra Leone. Minister Mansaray provided a vista of the progress made by GOSL in the fight against the Ebola Pandemic and succinctly highlighted Government’s priority areas in the post Ebola recovery drive, noting that the “Gietrenk” project will particularly contribute immensely towards the broader post Ebola recovery initiative. The minister appealed to the IDB delegation to consider making additional contributions towards the country’s post Ebola recovery efforts in addition to the support already received from the Bank in the areas of education especially in the reopening of schools. Other members of the Sierra Leone delegation include the NaCSA Commissioner, Ali Badara Mansaray, the Development Secretary MOFED, John Sumailah, Peter Sam Kpakra from MOFED and James Harding from NaCSA.
It could be recalled that after reviewing the projects appraisal report submitted by NaCSA, the Board of Directors of the Islamic Development Bank approved the Gietrenk Project in October 2014. The SLCDD2 emerged following the successful implementation of the first phase of the SLCDD1 by NaCSA. It will build on the earlier successes gained by promoting community driven development within seven chiefdoms using the Rural Growth Pole model approach over a period of five years. These chiefdoms include Lower Bambara in Kenema, Ribbi and Bagruwa in Moyamba, Konike Sanda and Kholifa Mabang in Tonkolili and BKM and Dibia in Port Loko districts. Each of the targeted chiefdoms will receive a cumulative block financing of between US$ 3.5 to US$ 8 million Dollars to support multi sector investments in each hub.
The development objective of the project is to build livelihoods of the rural poor by providing fragile communities with access to socio-economic opportunities and capacity building. The components of the project include Infrastructure development in Rural Growth Poles, Support for Livelihood and Micro Enterprise Development and Institutional Capacity Building and Community Development Planning.
The “Gietrenk” project will be implemented in collaboration with a number of stakeholder MDAs including Energy, Water Resources, Agriculture, Trade, Education, Health, Local Councils etc. Pre-implementation activities are already far .advanced with a detailed Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRA) concluded in each of the target chiefdoms. Teams were drawn from the relevant Ministries and the target communities themselves. NaCSA is now set to embark on holding a string of bilateral briefing meetings with the said stakeholders to tighten ‘the bolts and nuts’ of the ‘GIETRENK’ project and firm-up the modalities for commencement of the physical implementation of the project following the signing of the financing agreement by the Bank. NaCSA commissioner, Alie Badara Mansaray is particularly upbeat about the signing of the agreement. He says the commission remains committed in delivering on its social action mandate and the SLCDD is one of several projects that would add value to the numerous engagements undertaken in changing the poverty dynamics of Sierra Leone especially during post Ebola.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.