CARE International a Non-Governmental Organization operating in Sierra Leone has on the 23rd June 2021, partnered with the Government of Sierra Leone and Africell-SL to launch the COVID-19 Prevention and Response Project (CPR), an event that took place at the John James Complex on 48 Jenner Wright Road in the East End of Freetown.
In her goodwill message, the Head of Afrimoney, Massa Mayson Dennis, stated that it is with great appreciation that she is joining all to launch the COVID-19 Cash Voucher Assistance Program.
“Afrimoney and CARE are playing a pivotal role in enhancing financial inclusion in the country with this partnership,” she outlined adding how Afrimoney was founded on humanitarian assistance initiatives during the Ebola crisis saying they will continue to embody that by playing a key role in the country’s social impacts projects such as disbursement of cash transfers to the disadvantaged in communities and other Corporate Social Responsibility activities.
She continued that the outbreak of COVID-19 has affected many people across the world especially women and the most vulnerable in communities. Massa maintained that as we saw in 2014 to 2016 the country can overcome any challenge provided if all work together with discipline and coordination.
“Based on the experiences gained during the Ebola period, public and private sector partnership is critical to managing national public health emergencies,” she underscored furthering how the partnership is a testament of the power of public and private sector partnerships to transform lives whilst deepening financial inclusion.
She noted that the cash transfer payment will ensure that beneficiaries receive the much needed financial assistance directly to their Afrimoney wallets which will allow them access basis financial services such as savings, lending, money transfers, bill payments etc.
“With this partnership Africell/Afrimoney reaffirms its commitment to working with all stakeholders in driving the Government’s agenda of financial inclusion and a cash-lite economy,” the Head of Afrimoney concluded.
Earlier, the Country Director of CARE, Michael Alandu, in his statement said that this year marks 60 years of the organization’s presence and intervention in the country further underscoring how the organization has been working alongside the Government and other partners to enhance development and reduce poverty.
He informed the audience that women are at the heart of most of CARE’s programs as they are primarily targeted in all their interventions in the various communities where the organization operates.
“By understanding and addressing the underlying causes of poverty we are focusing our efforts on long term goals to help the people of Sierra Leone improve their livelihoods, security, health and economic development.
Michael Alandu highlighted that the COVID-19 Prevention and Response Project is supporting President Julius Maada Bio’s national strategy on COVID-19 preparedness and response adding how it is designed to leverage the technical strength, position and access built from the Epidemic Control and Reinforcement of Health Services Project.
He explained that the Project will support the five pillars of COVID-19 response in the country in 10 districts namely, Western Area, Port Loko, Kambia, Bombali, Karene, Koinadugu, Falaba, Tonkolili, Kenema, and Bo, which includes coordination, logistics, surveillance, supporting community awareness of and resilience to COVID-19 through Social Mobilization and Risk Communication and community or household resilience through cash transfer to vulnerable households.
The Country Director disclosed that it is the German Government through the KfW Project that provided the fund, in the tune of Three Million Euro, to support the implementation of the project and will end in October 2021 targeting residents of Sierra Leone who are at risk of contracting COVID-19.
“The objective of this project is to strengthen the health system in Sierra Leone to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and support community awareness as well as resilience to COVID-19,” he told the audience.
In his keynote address, the Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Rev. Titus Williams, stated that he is aware of the role CARE is playing in complementing Government’s efforts in deepening development. He said there is a long history of the partnership with Government.
On behalf of the President and Government he congratulated CARE for its 60 years of its presence and intervention in the country especially in the strides they have made so far in catering for the vulnerable. He dilated on the efforts that Government has made in coordinating the activities of NGOs in the country through his Ministry.
“We will continue to create the enabling environment for NGOs to operate smoothly in the country, supervise and monitor their programmes as well as strengthen their relationships with residents in communities where they operate,” he informed.
He assured CARE of Government’s continued support and ended up admonishing the beneficiaries to use the cash they will be receiving judiciously.
Other speakers commended the German Government for providing the fund, touched on the efforts Government is making to combat the spread of COVID-19, the need the strictly adhere to the COVID-19 regulations, to be vaccinated and for the beneficiaries to use their monies wisely.
The vote of thanks was done by one of the beneficiaries on behalf of others all of them mainly women
In attendance were the Country Director of CARE, Michael Alandu, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Rev. Titus Williams, Head of Afrimoney, Massa Mason Dennis Esq, Director General, National AIDS Secretariat, Director of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, a representative of NACOVERC, some members of staff of CARE, Afrimoney and beneficiaries of the project.