Christian Aid Signs Strategic Partnership MoU With Kombra Media Network

Alhaji Mohamed Bailor Jalloh of FOCUS 1000 at the ceremony

Christian Aid, Kombra Media Network (KMN) and FOCUS 1000 on Thursday 28th February 2019 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the headquarters of FOCUS 1000, Main Motor Road, Brookfields in Freetown to, among others, Strengthen Accountability, Build Inclusion (SABI) a four-year citizen-led accountability programme funded by the International Development Agency UK Aid. The project is implemented by a consortium of leading international and Sierra Leonean Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), led by Christian Aid.
Christian Aid was represented by Jeanne Kamara, Christian Aid Country Manager, Kombra Media Network (KMN) by Kemo Cham, National Coordinator and FOCUS 1000 by Alhaji Mohammad Bailor Jalloh, Chief Executive Officer.
The one-year MoU is with effect from 28th February 2019.
The SABI project aims to contribute towards improvements in basic services by delivery of quality basic services; building relationships between citizens and the state; supporting the Government’s development plans and promoting gender equality and social inclusion.
The project’s approach includes full participation and engagement of different cohort of stakeholders at the community, district and national levels. It covers key aspects of the design and delivery of services that will ensure sustained improvements in the quality of life of the citizenry.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of FOCUS 1000, Alhaji Mohammad Bailor Jalloh, the national level engagement and consultation with government and key stakeholders will create the enabling environment to facilitate effective dialogue and interaction between policy makers, service providers and the citizenry, articulating that the national level engagement with key duty bearers is predicated on the premise that unless political will and resources are provided to support improvements in service delivery, which are sought through community action plans, there will be limited changes in citizens’ access to quality delivery and improve trust between them and the State.
Highlighting the project’s expected outcomes, Alhaji Jalloh, enlightened that citizens targeted by SABI, demonstrate increased awareness of their rights and entitlements to services within the health, education and social protection sectors (in particular women, youths and Persons With Disability (PWD), that accountable relationships are leading to increased responsiveness from service providers to the demands of citizens targeted by SABI (in particular women, youths and PWD).
Christian Aid is an international development agency that has been in existence for nearly seventy-five years now. Its operations in Sierra Leone started in 1988 with a focus on service delivery and humanitarian assistance. Since the civil war ended in 2002, Christian Aid’s work has had a greater emphasis on building the capacity of local partners to challenge the systems and structures that perpetuate poverty and inequality. It is with that pedigree that Christian Aid leads the consortium of NGOs that is implementing the SABI Project.
FOCUS 1000 is a Sierra Leonean NGO that is committed to making the best investment in the most crucial time in a child’s life: the first 1000 days (the number of days from conception and pregnancy until the child reaches age two). It is primarily engaged in evidence generation and community engagement to influence health policies and promotion of utilization of health services for better health outcomes for especially women, children and the most vulnerable groups in society.
FOCUS 1000’s main responsibility under the SABI project is to engage national level stakeholders including Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) involved three key sectors – health, education and social welfare/protection, to ensure that infrastructure and policy bottlenecks are adequately addressed.
The Kombra Media Network (KMN) was established in March 2015 as part of the Civil Society Platform hosted by FOCUS 1000 to contribute to Scaling-Up Nutrition and Immunization (GAVI). KMN’s key objective is to report on health- related activities like issues in nutrition, immunization and other topical health concerns as well as sensitize the public for a positive behaviour and social change.
The KMN has also pledged to communicate correct information; promote and be an advocate for proper health behaviors, including use of services; be a credible link between health providers and the general public.
The Network is currently made up of 70 journalists from different media houses (Print and Electronic Media) and is represented across the country. An interim executive coordinates the activities of the Network.
The MoU establishes a formal relationship between FOCUS 1000 and the SABI Project on the one hand and the Kombra Media Network on the other. It clearly states the roles and responsibilities of each party in the implementation of the SABI Project.
All parties agreed to carry out their roles and responsibilities as detailed in the MoU.
Furthermore, all parties understand that the MoU is not a commitment of funds but rather a commitment of a strategic partnership, based on a shared vision and mutual goals, that the SABI project objectives and activities may be revised from time to time, which may require changes to the terms of the MoU and that all such changes will require an agreement of all parties in writing.
SABI is being implemented at district, chiefdom, ward and community levels across all 16 districts of Sierra Leone. As at February, 2019, the SABI Project is operating in 610 communities, from 106 wards. SABI is also being implemented at national level via engagements with relevant national stakeholders.
The project targets citizens, civil society organizations, district councils, Ward Development Committees (WDCs), women, marginalized young people and PWDs.
SABI Partners, through FOCUS 1000, shall collaborate and share lessons learnt with the KMN on the implementation of the SABI Project on a monthly basis, commit to working with the KMN in a collaborative, open, fair and honest way, where funding is still available, each of the SABI partner shall facilitate learning visits for members of the Kombra Media Network in their districts to observe and report on the SABI work within communities, plan activities 3 or 4 days earlier and share with the KMN representative in their district, provide support to identify and ensure participation of the right people for interviews or as resource persons for radio or television discussion programmes. This is to ensure high quality interactive discourse on the activities of the project.
Kombra Media Network for its part shall have a SABI focal personnel within the Kombra Media Network, report fairly and in a balanced manner on the implementation of the SABI project, hold service providers and duty bearers accountable for their stewardship by using their journalistic skills and media houses (print, radio, television and social media platforms) to report human interest stories on access to health, education and social protection.
KMN will also make input into the development and review of the SABI citizens’ perception data collection process including input into the development of questionnaires and related tools and report on the findings from the survey, publicize SABI activities, lessons learnt and publications and share their insight on the project with the general public on a monthly basis. To this end, KMN will publish/report in the media at least one story or editorial piece on the SABI Project each month. Evidence of all publications by the KMN shall be made available to SABI through FOCUS 1000.
Furthermore, KMN will ensure regular media coverage of SABI activities to be in interactive formats that include the interviewing partners and stakeholders for news stories in both print and electronic media; inviting SABI partners for panel discussions on topical issues in health, education and social protection sectors as well as KMN attending SABI events (workshops, press conferences, district and national service summits, learning events etc.) as and when requested and report in the media the findings, discussions, outcomes, action points, etc. of the events.
The parties agree to meet every two (2) months to discuss the progress of this partnership, identify any issues or risks to the SABI project generally, or this partnership and jointly agree on how these can be addressed. These meetings are to be hosted by FOCUS 1000.
Also, both parties agreed to notify the others as soon as possible of any significant change in the project or any difficulty or delay which might significantly affect adherence to the proposed and/or the execution of the project.
Nothing in this MoU stops the KMN from signing a separate MoU or other partnership under other projects with one or more of the SABI partners as long as the Network continues to fulfill its responsibilities assigned herein.
The Memorandum of Understanding shall be guided by the following principles and practices such as all parties shall share responsibilities and show mutual respect and tolerance to each other’s views in order to achieve the desired objectives; honesty and transparency: being open in judgment and communication by sharing reliable information pertaining to the SABI Project and being sincere in dealing with stakeholders of the project.
Accountability: all parties shall establish and maintain good records and systems, demonstrate probity in all dealings, sacrifice and hard work: all parties should keep to agreed commitments, show a high level of commitment to the project, be selfless and not look for personal gains and good planning: all planning must be participatory involving all stakeholders.
In compliance with the terms of this MoU, it is implied that all parties are obliged to be aware of and comply with laws relating to the protection of children and vulnerable adults, respect for diversity and inclusion of women, marginalized young people and PWDs.
All parties must work to ensure that no one, irrespective of sex, age, ethnicity, religion and political inclination, is discriminated against and that everyone is given equal opportunity to express their views and opinions.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here