By Solomon Yarjoh
After cessation of hostilities and declaration of the end of Sierra Leones’s civil war, it was evident that many organizations implemented community projects in various parts of the country. With millions of dollars offered by international donors and partners to the country for post war activities, nothing was actually realized as most of the projects had no sustainability plans, thus they collapsed.
One of the factors or reason that led to the collapse of many projects was the non-involvement of affected communities. A good number of affected communities were not consulted to identify needs and how they all could work towards sustaining them.
Based on these negative factors, and in order to avert such mistakes in post ebola activities, Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone has started convening community consultations in Kailahun district to allow people to identify their needs and also link them with appropriate organizations. These consultations are vital as community members speak frankly on how they were affected by the ebola disease, how they could work as individuals and collectively to ensure that the disease does not re-emerge and how they could work with Councils and other partners to rebuild their various areas.
Given the destruction caused by the ebola virus disease in the Kissi Teng chiefdom, Kailahun district, the people of Kissi Teng are now determined to ensure that ebola does not re-emerge any more in their communities.
Kissi Teng registered the first index case on May 25,2014 and within three months over 140 people were affected in the chiefdom. With over 145 days of no new infection in the entire district, the people of Kissi Teng, like other affected communities are grappling with numerous post ebola conflicts/challenges.
During consultation in Toli section on April 21, 2014, representatives from all 14 villages convened in Koindu town to highlight issues/challenges relating to post ebola. Participants admitted that they have a lot of issues affecting them such as ebola orphans,widows and widowers and agreed to work towards “no more ebola” in their chiefdom in particular and Sierra Leone as a whole. After consultation, participants were prevailed on to hold meetings in their various villages to highlight post ebola issues and how they intend to resolve them.
On Monday April 27, 2015, another meeting was held in Toli section and this time round participants catalogued various issues and suggested means to resolve them.
During the meeting, community members pointed out four key areas that should be done in Toli section They include loan/community grants, Agriculture and sectional memorial service for the dead especially ebola related deaths.
In his remarks, Executive Director, Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone, John Caulker pointed out lapses in project implementation after the war. He said almost all post war projects in the country had no sustainability plan, attributing it to non-involvement of affected beneficiaries.
He said Fambul Tok has started this initiative so that such mistakes would not re-occur and communities should be involved fully in whatever plans or implementation of any post ebola activities. He said Fambul Tok does not give money but creates space for community healing and reconciliation, adding that the organization links communities with Kailahun district Council and other partners so whatever is designed for community development goes directly to communities.
A representative from Kailahun District Council, Donald Koroma also highlighted devolved functions of Council, adding that most people blame Council because they do not know how it operates. He also said his presence in the meetings was significant to know problems of post ebola communities and how Council should intervene. He expressed thanks and appreciation to Fambul Tok for such meetings.
However, Toli section has formed a committee with a responsibility to coordinate development programmes in the chiefdom.
Similar consultation was held in Konio section,Kissi Teng chiefdom