The EU Ambassador was fairly impressed with our CRG project in Pujehun!
On the first of July the EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation, Sierra Leone, Peter Versteeg and his team visited our EU-funded project in Pujehun, “Together for Children’s Rights: Strengthening civil society and children to protect and promote children’s rights”. Our Country Director, Isaac Ooko and the Child Protection/CRG Advisor, Deanne Evans also travelled to Pujehun to support the keynote visit. The outcomes of the meetings he held with stakeholders and children were all positive as everyone expressed their satisfaction over the significant impacts the project has made in the lives of children and child rights-focused organizations as well as the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs and Pujehun District Council. Among the key successes achieved through the project is child participation, which was lacking in the District.
During his visit, Mr. Versteeg held a series of meetings with different people and groups including the host, Save the Children. Meetings were held with: the Pujehun District Council Chairman and his team, and a group meeting was held with different groups working with SC on this project: the Child Rights Coalition, the Children’s Forum Network, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, the Council of Paramount Chiefs, and Ward Committees.
Meeting with Save the Children:
Ambassador Versteeg and his team held a brief meeting with the SC team in our Pujehun Field Office where SC provided a brief update of the project’s implementation. Recent activities included trainings with children, civil society groups and government agencies, and the importance of maintaining regular coordination with stakeholders and institutions at the District level was highlighted. SC was asked about the criteria set for selecting Pujehun as a focus district for our programming, and about the political will from government and other stakeholders with respect to supporting this project and its objectives. These enquiries were satisfactorily handled by our team.
Meeting with the Pujehun District Council Chairman and his Team
The team also met with the Pujehun District Council Chairman, Sadik Sillah and his team at the Council Office. Chairman Sillah expressed satisfaction with Save the Children’s work in the District and our relationship with the Council. “I must be honest, sincere and truthful to say that I’m impressed about your [EU’s] project because it’s unique and our relationship with Save the Children is superb”, Chairman Sillah remarked. In his submission, the Chairman advocated for continued EU support to the district, in particular through Save the Children: “We are not expecting to directly receive your help but through an organization which you trust and we can trust and that is Save the Children. So that we can continue with our existing initiative because sustainability measures should be put in place”.
Meeting with the CFN, CRCSL and other civil society groups and district stakeholders
The highpoint of the visit was a joint meeting with the following groups: Children’s Forum Network (CFN) and Child Rights Coalition Sierra Leone (CRC-SL) Pujehun Chapter, representatives of the Paramount Chiefs, Councilors and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs. The children themselves and other stakeholders present provided feedback on the project in the presence of the EU Delegation.
“Save the Children is doing so well for the children in the District and we will continue to work with them” - Mary Sellu, Female Councilor in Pujehun
Through this project we have received capacity building support, and we have been able to successfully advocate for child participation; as a result, our voices are can now be heard. If we can have a resident magistrate today it is because of our advocacy effort through the EU Project” –Watta Koroma, Children’s Forum Network (CFN)
“We are very proud as children because our voices can be heard now. The EU Project has improved [skills of] children in so many ways, especially in the area of advocacy. We want the EU to continue so that we will carry out the ‘restructuring’ of CFN [new elections] because if we are well restructured we can advocate better and help our peers to [advocate] as well” – Amadu Jalloh, Acting President, CFN.
The responses from the EU delegation: “I’m very much impressed about the way this project has impacted on the lives of children in the Pujehun District”- Josephus Ellie, the Project Manager from the EU Delegation.
From the Ambassador: “We are happy to hear from you and we have seen many channels for addressing the issues you highlighted”. - EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation, Sierra Leone, Peter Versteeg.