By: Sylvanus Blake, Public Relations Officer, ACC
The Deputy Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Augustine Foday Ngobie has continued to provide stout leadership in the “on-the-spot” working visit and monitoring of the Skills for Development Fund (SDF) projects across several Disricts in Sierra Leone, implemented by various contractors (Adult Training Institutions) hired by the Ministry of Education.
Launched on the 11th of June 2020, the objective of the Sierra Leone Skills Development Project (SLSDP) and its the Skills Development Fund (SDF) is meant `to develop a demand-led skills development system, to support Sierra Leone’s Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy’. Several skill gap assessments conducted in Sierra Leone are indicative that the workforce lacks both foundational and technical skills. This can be attributed to the scarce availability of useful training programs and institutions, the high cost of training, the lack of adequate career mentorship, etc.
The SLSDP is a 22 Million Dollar World Bank and Government of Sierra Leone-funded project. The project has two components: a US$19 million Skills Development Fund (SDF) component and a US$3 million Capacity Building and System Strengthening component.
The SDF project has at its core; the provision of structured training and capacity building for young persons in life skills in a variety of self-employable economic generating activities, which is aimed at enhancing the middle-level manpower, filling the huge skill gap required by the dynamic employment market and making young people readily available for employment and engagement in the highly competitive labor market.
Addressing trainees, staff, and administrators at the Conference Room in the premises of Partners in Infrastructure and Development Initiative PIFDI & Co Ltd in Kenema on Friday the 13th of January 2023, Deputy Commissioner ACC, Augustine Foday Ngobie told a cross-section of the 30 enlisted persons undergoing training in agronomic fish farming who were all youth and mostly women, that the ACC was out in the fields to interact with them and gather first-hand information on how the project was being implemented; their experiences, concerns, and expectations. He admonished them to take the training processes seriously and ensure they acquire all rudiments in the field of training sufficiently.
_“As young people, take your destinies into your own hands. Pay keen attention and give your heart to the training process. It might be tough, but if you go through it successfully, your life will never be the same again. The best form of independence is economic freedom, and this can only be achieved and sustained through the acquisition of skills and knowledge that will make one employable or effective in business”,_Mr. Ngobie stated.
He further informed them that the ACC was out to ensure that the resources dedicated to the training and for the trainees were not mismanaged. He encouraged them to make their concerns known to the ACC as he assured them of a swift and unbiased response. \
One of the instructors at the Partners in Infrastructure and Development Initiative (PIFDI) & Co Ltd Mr. Samuel Alieu thanked the Deputy Commissioner and team for the working visit. He said that the engagement has reassured them and the trainees that the government is interested in monitoring the project.
He stated that the team, which comprised 30 trainees have their project site in Segbwema in the Njaluahun Chiefdom, Kailahun District, where fish ponds have been established and are thriving. He continued that all trainees have been provided with the required fish farming and functional literacy skills and that they were doing well.
The ACC, like in the Social Safety Net (SSN) project, is in charge of the implementation of the Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM), a critical component of the SDF. The GRM provides a platform for beneficiaries and community stakeholders to communicate their grievances and complaints to the ACC, which shall be handled and addressed in consonance with other project stakeholders, and have persons held accountable for any breach of the Anti-Corruption Act.
Similar engagements were held by the Deputy Commissioner in other districts where the project was implemented.