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Saidu Bangura in his 40’s has a family of eight their village was seriously affected by the Bumbuna Hydro project, the electricity grid that is providing 75% of the power supply to Freetown and Makeni. (Beneficiaries of the HABOPE project for Bumbuna hydro affected communities with their bags of rice as food for work distributed by NaCSA
Mayasso village where the food distribution is taken place is nestled in mountains 25 miles from Magboruka Town, but due to the deplorable road network it can take hours for 4 wheel drives to reach, crossing abashed rivers with road cuts, coupled with wrecked bridges and polls of brown ditches. There is also no convenient mobile phone coverage in the area.
Moving towards the only health center facing a newly constructed school in the village, Saidu Bangura was in jubilant mood after receiving a bag of rice, a gallon of cooking oil and beans from the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) the agency that distributed the consignment of food items as complimentary food for work to 231 beneficiaries at Mayasso
151 people also benefited from Bumbuna Town in the Tonkolili District particularly those severely affected by the Bumbuna Hydro project. They told our reporter that the food distribution was timely because most of the affected communities are struggling to make a decent living because of the rain.
The project is funded by the Japanese Government’s Social Development Fund through the World Bank as a Rapid Response Growth Poles (RRGP) titled (HABOPE)
Brima O Kanu, Acting National Coordinator of the HABOPE project said their intervention is to mitigate arising economic issues as a result of the activities of the Bumbuna hydro -project on the Rokel River which in the past was used for fishing, sand mining, gold mining, and gardening by communities for their livelihood.
He explained that the project has different components and the food for work distribution is only targeting the rehabilitation of foot tails to connect with major roads for linkages and trade.
Mr. Kanu said “we are constructing six communication centers with provision of renewable energy through a solar light that will be providing electricity for health centers, schools and major community facilities.
Additionally he said NaCSA has also provided a Micro credit grant of Le9,721,000, which they publicly applauded with clapping in appreciation.
“Some of the groups are currently undertaking various income generating activities in their respective communities aimed at improving a sustainable livelihood for those affected by the Bumbuna Hydro-project,” he said
Explaining the criteria of eligibility to beneficiaries Brima O Kanu the Acting National Coordinator of the HABOPE project said the food for work is meant for those who have participated in the road project through its successful implementation for six months.
The Regional NaCSA Coordinator Shenkun B. Fofana said the government is determined to put in place mitigating measures on the spillover effects of the Bumbuna Hydro project, with plans for swamp development programs and empowerment that benefits the affected people, for an improved livelihood.
David Koroma a representative of the Emergency Action Unit of the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources operating with the Bumbuna project commended NaCSA for implementing the project for the benefit of all those affected by the hydro dam project.
He said the Emergency Action Unit has planned the construction of 27 sirens that will alert the public about the discharge of the hydro waters to enable them get to safer place without causing destruction of lives and properties.
Councilor John Sesay of ward 226 called on the beneficiaries of the HABOPE project to embrace NaCSA for the development of the area, a representative of the paramount chief also lauded the government initiative to help the poor people that have been affected by the Bumbuna project.
NaCSA’s Internal Auditor Osman Bangura assured the beneficiaries of the project that the food distribution will be provided on monthly basis which includes a bag of rice for one person, and 5 kilograms of beans and a gallon of cooking oil.
The development oriented Admin and Human Resource Manager of NaCSA Mr. Sorie Turay calmly explained about the benefits of the HABOP project aimed at improving the livelihood of those affected by the Bumbuna project and encouraged the beneficiaries to embrace the project.
“NaCSA will ensure all those affected by the Bumbuna Hydro project gets equal benefits,” Mr. Turay stressed.
The Rapid Response Growth Poles (RRGP) is a Community-Based Livelihood and Food-Support Program jointly implemented by the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources (MoEWR) and the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA).
It provides immediate food and cash, while simultaneously establishing much-needed interventions targeted at 1,200 at-risk households to increase their incomes, through productive activities for the unemployed, and by promoting job skills and training, especially for vulnerable groups including youth, women, and disabled persons.
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