BLP Completes Phase 1 of COVID-19 Sensitization in BLP Operational Communities in Sierra Leone

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BLP Completes Phase 1 of COVID-19 Sensitization in BLP Operational Communities in Sierra Leone

Welcome to Bright Light Projects July 2020 Newsletter,

Proper Hygiene and Sanitation are at the forefront fighting COVID -19. Bright Light Projects Sierra Leone (BLPSL) completed Phase 1 of ” Upholding Sensitive Prevention and Control to curtail the Spread of COVID-19 virus in BLP operational Communities in Sierra Leone” was a great success.

On May 18 2020, BLP Waterloo office hosted a Stakeholders engagement and
community familiarization meeting inviting stakeholders, partners, across BLP operational areas in the Western Area Rural District – Waterloo

The goals of these meetings were as follows:

  • To get buy in from key Community stakeholders on the BLP Covid-19 Sensitization program
  • To go over the key objectives and activities of the Covid-19 intervention campaign and get feedback from the community
  • To have key stakeholders validate the project Abstract ( Project Charter) and give a good faith blessing to the program

In the Western Area Rural District – Waterloo, invitations went across neighboring communities like Mango Farm, Malambay Koya Section, Masmera Community, Mabureh Community, Mano Corner, New London and Bor-Bor Belleh Communities. Bringing everyone onboard helped us to understand and share different views and opinion. Before entering the conference room, each participant washed their hands with our locally made Eco- hand washing machine standing at the entrance of the building with every participant masked-up to observe the precautionary measures of fighting the Virus.

Meeting was chaired by Benson Kandeh BLPSL Regional Coordinator, Western Area Rural and Urban District. Individual’s prayers were conducted, BLPSL Acting Admin/Project officer –Ishmail L. Kamara ushered a welcome note . The meeting attracted key participants ranging from UNDP, Western Rural District Health Medical Coordinator, Councilor representatives, three Herdsmen, Section Chief, Religious Leader, three Communities Elders, two Chair Ladies, Youth leaders. Two BLP beneficiaries were all present to grace the engagement meeting telling their stories and what BLPSL has done for them.

In Bombali District, the engagement was completed within BLP different operational communities, on different schedules from the 13 th , 14 th and 15 th May 2020.
On 13 May 2020, the first stakeholders’ engagement was at Rosint Manor community, Gbanti chiefdom, Bombali District. Stakeholders from neighboring communities were present. This meeting brought together town chiefs, women leaders, youth leaders, religious leaders, traditional healers and caregivers of BLP beneficiaries. On the 14 th May, 2020 our second engagement was done at Patebana Marank community in Bombali Shebora chiefdom Bombali District representative from different stakeholders, we had representatives from the chiefdom, councils, religious councils, community health workers, traditional healers, ceremonial chiefs, women’s leader, Youth leader, and some BLP beneficiaries.

On 15 May 2020, final endorsement engagement meeting was held at BLP regional office at 12 water works Road, off New London Makeni city. With key stakeholders in the Makeni municipality. Present at this meeting were the following stakeholders and Partners: The paramount chief, Deputy Mayor of the Makeni municipality, Gender Desk officer Bombali district council, District Medical Officer Bombali (DMO), Social services officer Ministry Of Gender And Children Affairs and Regional coordinator Covid-19 Bombali district, Psycho-social Pillar coordinator and disaster management, District social services officer Ministry of Social Welfare and Inter Religious Council Were in Representative. The engagement meeting was chaired by Samuel Alpha Thoronka the project officer of BLP Northern Region Sierra Leone. The meeting started with prayers and a welcome address.

Osman Kargbo, Regional coordinator BLPSL, in his opening statement, thanked all participants for such a laudable gathering. He talked on how Bright Light Projects recognized their role and leadership as key stakeholders in Makeni Bombali district Northern Region. As a result, BLP called on them to be part of BLP’s Covid-19 program and activities especially sensitization and preventive education to curtail the spread of this deadly virus.

Osman explained clearly the purpose of the engagement which are two folds: to engage the community stakeholders and get buy-in, and also obtain a memorandum of understanding between BLP and community stakeholders also to understand the needs of community stakeholders in the fight against corona virus in Sierra Leone. Osman gave brief history of corona virus on how it started in china and spread all over the world highlighting how it is transmitted, common symptoms, including measures to combat the virus.

Key Observations:

  • There was a total willingness from Stakeholders to be center of the Covid-19 fight
  • Stakeholders were ready to implement the program in their respective communities
  • Stakeholders are demanding for the Hand washing machine to be installed
  • The community youths are ready to join BLP in the implementation process
  • Stakeholders give their fullest endorsement

Outcome:

The highlight of this COVID-19 stakeholders engagement meetings in both Waterloo and Makeni, was the signing of the Project Charter by key community stakeholders and partners, validating the objectives and planned activities of this campaign in the different communities in the different Districts. BLP now has the mandate to carry out this Covid-19 sensitization Campaign knowing the have the full support of the local chiefs, community heads, Youth leaders, Herdsmen, Administrative and District officials, Health and Social Services personnel, Ministry of Social Welfare Gender & Children’s Affairs, and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) who were duly present.

Working with line ministries provides an opportunity for our team to stay compliant with Government policies and procedures as we continue to compliment Government efforts in rebuilding broken communities.

We look forward to your partnership in contributing towards COVID-19 long-term sensitization campaign in helping communities fight this deadly virus through proper education, hygiene and sanitation practices over a period of 12 months.

May 13, 2020 BL team on Covid-19 stakeholder engagement meeting at Rosint Community in Bombali District
May 14, 2020 BLP team on Covid-19 stakeholder meeting at Pate Bana Marank Community – Bombali Shebora Chiefdom
May 15, 2020 meeting with key stakeholders at the BLPSL Northern Regional office in Makeni to validate BLP Covid-19 Sensitization Program
May 18, 2020 stakeholders and invited partners wash their hands before engagement meeting at BLP head quarters in Waterloo

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