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NaCSA commences training on Self-Help Affinity Groups in Makeni

NaCSA commences training on Self-Help Affinity Groups in Makeni

The National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) has adopted a new approach in its Strides to Alleviate Poverty in Sierra Leone through Self-Help Affinity Groups (SAGs) creating the ability of meeting the basic needs of most Sierra Leoneans like Food, shelter, clothing among others.  (Photo: James Harding Director – Social and Economic Opportunities (SOCEP) of (NaCSA) explaining to participants about Self-Help Affinity Groups (SAGs) concept )

The issue of poverty is now a major challenge in growth and development activities, since its establishment by an Act of Parliament, the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) continues to be at the vanguard of the fight against poverty especially in the regions of Community Development, Livelihoods Development and Social Protection.

Sequel to NaCSA’s successful implementation of a myriad of multi-funded donor projects, NaCSA under the headship of Commissioner Saidu Conton Sesay the entity has attracted over $20 million for the implementation of the Sierra Leone Community Driven Development (SLCDD) Project from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

As part of the Capacity building efforts highlighted in the Project, NaCSA with guidance from the IDB agreed to adopt / domesticate; tested, proven and qualified sustainable approaches congruent to combating poverty in Rural and Peri-Urban communities in Least Income Countries (LICs) like Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Djibouti etc.

In February, 2012, a team of 10 Sierra Leoneans travelled to India on an exposure visit,  the aim of the visit was to build general awareness and attempt to develop a successful model of Pro-Poor Self-Help Group Approach in Sierra Leone, in order to combat poverty through a combination of techniques. The team returned from India and commenced preparatory work for the roll-out of the SAG concept in Sierra Leone.

To prevent the possibility of misinterpretation of the concept, NaCSA  is presently organizing a ten (10) days training of a Core Team of Master Trainers drawn from among NaCSA staff and the Development Officers of the all the Local Councils in Sierra Leone, to  champion the campaign for sensitization and popularizing the SAG Concept in Sierra Leone.

Cross–section of stakeholders across the country at the training

The Participants have converged in the Northern Region Head Quarter town of Makeni, where the trainings will be facilitated by the experts from India from the Wednesday 2nd 11th May 2012.

The formation of a team of Master trainers constituted by both NaCSA and Local Council staff is an overt demonstration of NaCSA’s commitment to their continued collaboration with the local councils in the development of local communities.

It is the expectation of all that with the successful roll-out of the SAG concept in Sierra Leone, NaCSA will significantly contribute towards reducing poverty in this country.

An India based local NGO called: Mysore Resettlement and Development Agency (MYRADA) was contracted to help in building NaCSA’s capacity in implementing the Self-Help Affinity Groups (SAG) concept in Sierra Leone.  MYRADA is the progenitor of this globally acclaimed poverty eradication strategy (The SAG Concept).

A Self-Help Affinity Group is a small group, usually constituted by 15 – 20 members, generally homogeneous and related by Affinity; it is a group whose members use savings, credit and social involvement as instruments of empowerment.

The Objectives of Self-Help Affinity Groups includes; organizing poor families and bringing them into institutions; creating saving habits among the group members to build their own capital; enhancing the level of awareness of members of the group on the concept of development and available programmes in Government Departments; encouraging members to learn literacy and numeracy.

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