One of the remarkable successes of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in the four (4) years of Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala, as head of the ACC, is the monitoring of World Bank and other donor projects implemented by various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs). The ACC is committed to enhancing opportunities for grievance redress and collaborative problem-solving on the projects it supports through effective monitoring.
To effectively carry out monitoring roles on different projects funded by World Bank and other donors, the ACC has a Project Coordination Unit which primarily focuses its work on Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM).
The GRM is a channel for beneficiaries and other stakeholders to raise grievances, complaints, or corruption reports about the projects. GRM has been an effective tool in institutionalizing transparency, accountability, early detection, assessment, and resolution of complaints and corruption prevention in the target projects, and in particular seek to minimize any risks.One of the projects which the ACC GRM Unit has supported since 2014 is the Social Safety Net (SSN) Project.
The SSN Project commonly called “Ep Fet Po” was launched in 2014 to establish core social protection systems and progressively expand the coverage of cash transfers to extremely poor households in Sierra Leone. The project is funded by World Bank and UNICEF and implemented by the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA).
Under this project, the Commission is primarily responsible for handling the GRM component and therefore has been participating in activities such as monitoring the enrollment of beneficiaries and the payment of cash to the enrolled beneficiaries in a bid to provide a platform for beneficiaries and citizens to express their grievances about the implementation of the project where applicable.
ACC’s participation in this project has contributed to corruption prevention to a very large extent, thereby maximizing beneficiaries’ interest. Since 2020, the ACC GRM Unit has monitored the enrollment and payment of cash to 129,000 social protection beneficiaries (25, 000 SSN pilot beneficiaries; 36,000 SSN phase 2 beneficiaries; 29,000 emergency cash transfer beneficiaries; and 39,000 EU funded emergency cash transfer beneficiaries).
Additionally, the ACC has played a critical role in monitoring, receiving and redressing grievances from project beneficiaries and stakeholders in the Sierra Leone Community Driven Development (SLCDD) Project. The SLCDD Project is implemented by NaCSA with funds from the Islamic Development Bank and counterpart funding by the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL). The major components of the SLCDD Project are: Infrastructure Development in Rural Growth Poles (RGPs), support for Livelihood and Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE), Institutional Capacity Building and Community Development Planning, Monitoring Knowledge Management and Advocacy and Support for Project Implementation and Management. The implementation of this project officially commenced in 2016 and it is commonly referred to as “GIETRENK”.
In 2021, the GRM component was included in the project and since then, the ACC GRM Unit has carried out monitoring of project activities implemented over the four years with report forwarded to NaCSA awaiting recommended actions.
ACC intervention, primarily through effective and continuous community engagements on the GRM component held with project beneficiaries and stakeholders by the Public Education and External Outreach Department, project beneficiaries and stakeholders have had the opportunity to register project related complaints which are being addressed through the GRM. In the four years of Commissioner Kaifala, the ACC has contributed significantly to increased transparency and quality service delivery to GIETRENK beneficiary communities.
Increased levels of transparency and integrity in the above projects delivery (SSN and GIETRENK) through the GRM platform have given rise to the institutionalization of GRM in other donor and government funded projects. The Commission, through an MOU signed with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation plays an active role in addressing the GRM issues within the Integrated Health Projects Administration Unit (IHPAU). Several interventions have been made by the ACC in the IHPAU project, particularly in receiving and handling complaints from the public on the supply and distribution of drugs to health facilities nationwide and activities in the fight against COVID 19 in Sierra Leone such as the administration of COVID 19 vaccines.
The ACC is also carrying out similar intervention in the Skills Development Funds Project implemented by the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education with funds from World Bank. The project focuses on increasing the access to demand-led skills upgrading in Sierra Leone. As in the other projects, the ACC carries out routine monitoring on the project activities and also receive and handle complaints from the public on the project deliverables through the GRM platform.
Therefore, in the past four (4) years, the ACC has remarkably supported Donor and Government funded projects in helping reduce the levels of projects malfunctioning, corrupt practices, procedural lapses and also heightened transparency, accountability, efficient service delivery and corruption related complaints from the public through the GRM infrastructure. Since 2020 to date, the GRM Unit has successfully received up to 2,952 complaints from beneficiaries and stakeholders with 2,381 of those complaints resolved and closed, representing 81% of the total complaints received.